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C. F. CLAY, Manager 

LONDON : Fetter Lane, E.G. 4 





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The Queen as patron of Letters 

George Gascoigne, poet and dramatist, presenting his Hemetes the Heremyte 
(c. 1579) to Elizabeth 

LIFE IN shakesi;eare;s^ :6Ngland 





Cambridge : 

at the University Press 


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First Edition 1911 
Second Edition 191 3 
Reprinted 19 15, 1920. 


^'T^HE Cambridge Anthologies are intended for ^ ^ 

-■■ the general reader^ who^ whilst he is familiar /^^ 
with the greater masters^ has little leisure^ and^ it 
may be^ little inclination^ to become a professed 
student of literature. They seek to provide such 
a reader with first-hand knowledge of the literary 
atmosphere and social conditions in which these 
masterpieces were created. At present^ this need 
is satisfied only by reference to histories of literature^ 
which have too many preoccupations to deal justly 
with it^ or to authorities even less accessible. 

It is the object of this series to let each age speak 
for itself,^ and to give coherence and prominence to 
what seem to be its significant features, T'hus^ the 
thought^ temper^ manners and activities of the period 
of Shakespeare^ which is the theme of the first two 
volumes^ are exemplified in selections from contem- 
porary poetry and prose. The for?ner illustrates the 
literary interests^ models and aspirations^ as well as 
the lyrical and rhetorical quality of the time ; the 
latter gives a picture of the Elizabethan Englishman, 
painted by himself in pursuit of his business^ sport 
or roguery. 

Volumes dealing in like manner with other 
periods will follow, and the series will include a 
history of English literature for general readers, 

J, DorER Wilson 


October 1911 



my father-in-law 



A REFERENCE to the table of contents will 
acquaint the reader with the plan of this book. 
That meagre framework of facts which we call the life of 
Shakespeare has been made its basis, and the various 
extracts are so arranged as to illustrate the social atmo- 
sphere which surrounded our greatest poet at different 
periods of his career. The country lay at his door in 
infancy, with its shepherds and milkmaids, its witches 
and fairies. Stratford had its grammar-school, which he 
probably attended, and, though he did not proceed to 
college nor as far as we know ever leave the kingdom, 
sections on the university and travel have been added 
to complete the picture of an average Elizabethan 
gentleman's education. With the youth of twenty-two 
we then journey to London, noting on our way the 
vileness of the roads and the comfort of the inns, we 
see the chief sights of the capital, we stand amazed at 
its turbulence and gaiety, we catch glimpses of the 
temptations that beckoned the future dramatist to 
enter that " primrose way to the everlasting bonfire " 
down which his predecessors Marlowe and Greene had 
wandered to their undoing. Next we pass to the 
conditions which surrounded Shakespeare as author, 
actor and playwright, concluding this stage of our 
itinerary with a visit to the court, which was the 
constant supporter of the theatre against a puritanical 



work of Greene is to be set down to the fact that 
interesting passages are not easily detachable from the 
main body of his text. In collecting material for this 
scrap-book, I have in all cases given the preference to 
those specimens which are at once entertaining and 
complete in themselves. The majority of the extracts, 
it should be added, have been taken from books or 
documents written between 1564 and 161 6, the dates 
of Shakespeare's birth and death, out of the sixty-nine 
used only four being earlier and some half dozen later 
than this period. 

Finally, since the collection has been made primarily 
in the interests of the general reader and the student 
rather than of the professed scholar, I have striven to 
make it as attractive and as easy to read as possible. 
The text has been modernised throughout, an under- 
taking which has convinced me that Elizabethan editors 
save themselves a vast deal of trouble and risk by 
adhering to the original spelling, and, while not shirking 
the labour, I fear 1 cannot altogether have avoided the 
dangers. Free changes also have been made in the 
punctuation where sense or the modern eye seemed to 
require them. The glossary at the end ought to 
explain most of the names, strange words and difficult 
passages, and the reader will find it more useful if he 
remembers that words which have a modern look have 
often altered their meaning since Shakespeare's day. The 
text of all extracts is based upon the originals, except in 
the cases for which acknowledgement is here made and 
in a very few others where the British Museum 
contains no early edition. The word Rye in brackets 
following a title indicates that the passage has been 
taken from W. B. Rye's England as seen by foreigners 
in the days of Elizabeth and James^ a translation from the 


has a direct bearing upon the escapades of FalstafF, 
the passage on " witches in Scotland " throws an in- 
teresting and, I believe, a new light upon the weird 
sisters in Macbeth^ Autolycus is the hero of the 
chapter on rogues, and so on. Partly in order to 
increase the utility of the book in this direction, all 
the chapters and a large number of the extracts have 
been prefaced with quotations from Shakespeare. But 
considerations of space have compelled me to make 
them as brief as possible, and they are sometimes little 
more than hints to remind the reader of scenes and 
speeches v/hich he should look up for himself. It will 
be frequently observed how closely Shakespeare's 
thought and phrase resemble those of his contem- 

Such being the general aim of this volume, there 
has been no attempt to make it an anthology of the 
best Elizabethan prose. It contains no Hooker and 
very little Bacon, but, in so far as it draws considerably 
upon a number of excellent writers of the second rank 
such as Nashe, Harrison, Stubbes, Earle and Markham, 
the main characteristics of sixteenth and early seventeenth 
century prose are, I hope, sufficiently exemphfied. 
I hope also that the reader will not be too conscious of 
the compiler's scissors, to which, as a matter of fact, 
Elizabethan prose authors lend themselves with great 
readiness. There are, for example, the "character- 
writers," Earle, Overbury and the rest, whose work has 
been laid under full contribution, while most of the 
earlier pamphleteers are continually dropping into the 
"character" vein and are full of such admirable little 
vignettes as the portrait of the bookseller from Nashe 
on p. 153. This, however, is not always the case, and 
that more use has not been made, for instance, of the 




Preface vii 


{Richard 11. , Henry V. etc.) 

England, the English, birth and rank, snobbery, English 

^3irtL Shakespeare's Youth, Stratford t564—t586 ^' 

Born 1564.' son of a farmer and shopkeeper of Stratford- 
on-Anjon : probably attends the free grammar school 
of the tonvn 


{Midsummer Night's Dream, Induction to the Taming 
of the Shrenx), As You Like Ity Winter's Tale) 

§ I. Country-folk ....... 10 

A country gentleman, a franklin, a farmer, a milk- 
maid, a shepherd 

§ 2. Sport .16 

Hunting, football, bowling, a cock-fight, a local 

§ 3. Festival %% 

Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, May Day, Robin 
Hood, the Lord of Misrule 

Chapter III. SUPERSTITION .... .29 

{Midsummer Night's Dream, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, 
Hamlet, King Lear, The Tempest) 

§ I. The Nature of Superstition .... 29 

§ 2. Ghosts and Spirits 31 





§ 3. Witchcraft 33 

Witches in Scotland, the witches' cauldron, trans- 

§ 4. Fairyland ... r .... 40 
§ 5. Astrology 46 

Chapter IV. EDUCATION 49 

(Love's Labour's Lost, Merry fVinfes of Windsor) 

§ I. Child and Parent 49 

Two views of childhood, parents and children 

§ 2. The Grammar-School 52 

An interesting parallel, the school day, punishment, 
country schoolmasters 

§ 3. The University 63 

The universities of England, the life at Oxford, 
a young gentleman of tlie university, a mere 

§ 4. Travel 68 

The use and abuse of travel, the Italianate English- 

Pari IL Shakespeare in London t586—t608 

Goes to London {F on foot) c. 1586.' recognised as a rising 
dramatist 1592 .• publishes Venus and Adonis 1593 .* 
acts before the Queen at Greenwich 1594 

Chapter V. LONDON 75 

(i and 2 Henry IT., Much Ado About Nothing, 
Measure for Measure) 

§ I. The Road to London . . . . . . 75 

The state of the roads, means of communication, 
inns, highwaymen 

§ 2. First Impressions of London .... 84 
A foreign view, the buildings, the Thames, a water- 
man, London Bridge, Cheapside, a shop-keeper, 
Paul's walk, noise and bustle 

§ 3. Disorders 92 

A busy week for the authorities, duelling and street 
brawling, constables and watchmen, London 
at night 





Temptations .102 

A. Drink : its effects, a fearful example, ale-houses, 
taverns, English sobriety B. Tobacco . a 
tobacco seller, royal disapprobation. C. Dicing 
and Gaming : cheaters, a gaming-house, false 
dice, card-sharping. D. Debt and Usury : 
a usurer, the debtors' prison 

Dress and Fashion 122 

Fashion in general, gorgeous attire, a dandy, 
fashion descends, barbers, fashionable ladies, 
pride of merchants' wives, lap-dogs 

§ 6. The Plague 135 

The beggar's opportunity, medical treatment, flight 
from London 

Chapter VI. BOOKS AND AUTHORS . . . .14.0 

Patronage, portrait of a poet, an author's complaint, a pot- 
poet, a worthy poet, ballads and monsters, troubles of 
authorship, fashion in books, stationers and booksellers 

Chapter VII. THE THEATRE 154 

{Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry V,., Hamlet) 
§ I. Theatrical Conditions in 1580 . . . . 155 

Aesthetic and moral condemnation 
§ 2. Playhouses and Bear-gardens . . . .160 
The first London theatres, a German at the theatre, 
structure of a playhouse, playhouses, English 
and Italian theatres, Paris-garden 

§ 3. The Audience ... . 166 

General behaviour, a gallant at the playhouse 

§ 4. The Actor and his Craft 17* 

Shakespeare's opinion, character of a player, magni- 
ficence of players' dress, the queen's players on 
tour, a royal licence 

§ 5. Puritan Opposition to the Theatre . . .177 
Denunciation from Paul's Cross, a sweeping con- 
demnation, attitude of the city authorities, 
a dramatist's reply, the actors' remonstrance 





{Love's Labour's Lost, Muck Ado About Nothing, 
Hamlet, Historical Plays) 
Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich .... 

The Courtier 

The ideal, the other side of the picture 

Masques at Court 

The Death of Queen Elizabeth .... 

Part IIL Shakespeare's last years, Stratford 

Buys Neiv Place and other property at Stratford iS97f 
leaves London i6oZ: ^writes his last plays The 
Winter's Tale and The Tempest.* dies 1616 

Chapter IX. HOUSE AND HOME .... 

{Taming of the Shrevo, Romeo and Juliet, 2 Henry IV 
Coriolanus i. iii., iv. v., The fFinter's Tale) 

§ I. Houses and Furniture 

§ 2. Gardens and Orchards 

§ 3. Housekeeping and the Table 

An English housewife, the table, hospitality, the 
kitchen, the dairy 

§ 4. Sleep and Health 

The bedroom, the care of the body, the physician 

{King Lear, The Winter's Tale) 

Rogues and the law, a courtesy man, an abraham man 
rufflers, hookers, two rogues and a parson, a counterfeit 

Chapter XI. THE SEA 

{^he Merchant of Venice, Antony and Cleopatra. 
The Tempest) 
England's naval power, a merchant, the sailor's life, the story 
of the Revenge, discovery, colonization, travellers' tales 

Conclusion. AN ELIZx\BETHAN DAY . . . . 








Glossary and Notes 
Index of Authors 





George Gascoigne, poet and dramatist, presenting his 

Hemetes the Keremyte (c. 1579) to Queen Elizabeth Frontispiece 

An Elizabethan Huntsman, from Turberville's Noble Arte 

ofVenerie^ 1576 To face p. 16 

The south bank of the Thames, showing the Globe 
Theatre and a bear-garden, from Hollar's Vienu of 
London^ 1647 .......,, p. 74 

The Southwark Gate of London Bridge, from Visscher's 

Map ofLondoriy 1616 . . . . . . »« p. 102 

A sixteenth century printer's office, from A book of 

trades, 1568 „ p. 140 

An Elizabethan stage, from Victor E. Albright's Shak- 

sperian Stage, 1909 „ p. 154 

Charlecote Hall, from Dr Furnivall's edition of Harrison's 

Description of England ....-.»> p. 208 



This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isl^ 
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, 
This other Eden, demi-paradise. 
This fortress built by Nature for herself 
Against infection and the hand of war, 
This happy breed of men, this little world, 
This precious stone set in the silver sea, 
Which serves it in the office of a wall. 
Or as a moat defensive to a house. 
Against the envy of less happier lands. 
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.... 

Richard IL, ii. i. 40 — 50 


The air of England is temperate, but thick, cloudy and 
misty, and Caesar witnesseth that the cold is not so piercing 
in England as in France. For the sun draweth up the vapours 
of the sea which compasseth the island, and distills them upon 
the earth in frequent showers of rain, so that frosts are some- 
what rare ; and howsoever snow may often fall in the winter 
time, yet in the southern parts (especially) it seldom lies long on 
the ground. Also the cool blasts of sea winds mitigate the 
heat of summer. 

By reason of this temper, laurel and rosemary flourish all 
winter, especially in the southern parts, and in summer time 
England yields apricots plentifully, musk melons in good 
quantity, and figs in some places, all which ripen well, and 

W. A I 


happily imi<:at£ the t^ste ,an(l goodness of the same fruits in 
Italy. And by the Game 'Veaio'n all beasts bring forth their 
young in the open fields, even in the time of winter. And 
England hath such abundance of apples, pears, cherries and 
plums, such variety of them and so good in all respects, as no 
country yields more or better, for vv^hich the Italians would 
gladly exchange their citrons and oranges. But upon the sea 
coast the winds many times blast the fruits in the very flower. 

The English are so naturally inclined to pleasure, as there 
is no country wherein the gentlemen and lords have so many 
and large parks only reserved for the pleasure of hunting, or 
where all sorts of men allot so much ground about their houses 
for pleasure of gardens and orchards. The very grapes, especi- 
ally towards the south and west, are of a pleasant taste, and 
I have said, that in some counties, as in Gloucestershire, they 
made wine of old, which no doubt many parts would yield at 
this day, but that the inhabitants forbear to plant vines, as well 
because they are served plentifully and at a good rate with 
French wines, as for that the hills most fit to bear grapes yield 
more commodity by feeding of sheep and cattle. Caesar writes 
in his Commentaries, that Britanny yields white lead within 
land, and iron upon the sea coasts. No doubt England hath 
inexhaustible veins of both, and also of tin, and yields great 
quantity of brass, and of alum and iron, and abounds with 
quarries of freestone, and fountains of most pure salt ; and 
I formerly said that it yields some quantity of silver, and that 
the tin and lead is mingled with silver, but so, as it doth not 
largely quit the cost of the labour in separating or trying it. 
Two cities yield medicinal baths, namely Buxton and Bath, 
and the waters of Bath especially have great virtue in many 
diseases. England abounds with sea-coals upon the sea coast, 
and with pit coals within land. But the woods at this day are 
rather frequent and pleasant than vast, being exhausted for fire, 
and with iron-mills, so as the quantity of wood and charcoal 
for fire is much diminished, in respect of the old abundance ; 
and in some places, as in the Fens, they burn turf, and the very 
dung of cows. Yet in the meantime England exports great 
quantity of sea-coal to foreign parts. In like sort England hath 
infinite quantity, as of metals, so of wool, and of woollen 
clothes to be exported. The English beer is famous in 


Netherland and lower Germany, which is made of barley 
and hops ; for England yields plenty of hops, howsoever they 
also use Flemish hops. The cities of lower Germany upon 
the sea forbid the public selling of English beer, to satisfy 
their own brewers, yet privately swallow it like nectar. But 
in Netherland great and incredible quantity thereof is spent. 
England abounds with corn, which they may transport, when 
a quarter (in some places containing six, in others eight bushels) 
is sold for twenty shillings, or under ; and this corn not only 
serves England, but also served the English army in the civil 
wars of Ireland, at which time they also exported great quantity 
thereof into foreign parts, and by God's mercy England scarce 
once in ten years needs supply of foreign corn, which want 
commonly proceeds of the covetousness of private men, ex- 
porting or hiding it. Yet I must confess, that daily this plenty 
of corn decreaseth, by reason that private men, finding greater 
commodity in feeding of sheep and cattle than in the plough 
requiring the hands of many servants, can by no law be re- 
strained from turning corn-fields into enclosed pastures, especially 
since great men are the first to break these laws. England 
abounds with all kinds of fowl, as well of the sea as of the land, 
and hath more tame swans swimming in the rivers, than I did see 
in any other part. It hath multitudes of hurtful birds, as crows, 
ravens and kites, and they labour not to destroy the crows 
consuming great quantity of corn, because they feed on worms 
and other things hurting the corn. And in great cities it is 
forbidden to kill kites and ravens, because they devour the filth 
of the streets. England hath very great plenty of sea and 
river fish, especially above all other parts abundance of oysters, 
mackerel and herrings, and the English are very industrious in 
fishing, though nothing comparable to the Flemmings therein. 

Fynes Moryson, Itinerary 1617 



The English (a foreign view) 

That island of England breeds very valiant creatures : their mastiffs 
are of unmatchable courage.. ..And the men do sympathize with the 
mastiffs in robustious and rough coming on, leaving their wits with their 
wives : and then give them great meais of beef and iron and steel, they 
will eat like wolves and fight like devils. 

Henry F.^ iii vii. 154 — 168 

The English are grave like the Germans, lovers of shew ; 
followed wherever they go by whole tr oops of servants^who 
wear their masters arms in silver fastened to th eirleftarms, 
and are not undeservedly ridiculed for wearing tails hanging 
down their backs. Th£^ ex cel in dancing„ and mm;irj for jhey 
ar e active and lively, t hough of a thicker make than the French ; 
they cut their hair dose on the midd le of the head, letting it grow 
on either side j they are good sailors, and better pirates, cunning, 
treacherous, and thievish; above 300 are said to be hanged 
annually at London. Beheading with them is less infamous 
than hanging. They give the wall as the place of honour. 
Hawking is the common sport of the gentry. They are more 
polite in eating than the French, consuming less bread, but more 
meat, which they roast in perfection. They put a great deal of 
sugar in their drink. Their beds are covered with tapestry, even 
those of farmers. They are often molested with the scurvy, said 
to have first crept into England with the Norman conquest. 
Their houses are commonly of two stories, except in London, 
where they are of three and four, though but seldom of four ; 
they are built of wood; those of the richer sort with bricks; 
their roofs are low, and where the owner has money, covered 
with lead. They are powerful in the field, successful against 
their pnf^miVg^ jjnp^^ienr f^f t»nyf-bi'ng Ijkf slavery: v^stl y ^fond 
^f ^rpa^^jTr^i^ps fhaf fill the, enr^ such as the firing of caunon, 
drums, and the ringing of bells, so that in London it is common 
for a number of them, that have got a glass in their heads, to 
go up into some belfry, and ring the bells for hours together, 
for the sake of exercise. If they see a foreigner, very well 
made or particularly handsome, they will say, "It is a pity 
he is not an Englishman/' 

Paul Hent^nbr, Travels in England 1598 [Rye] 



Birth and Rank 

How could communities, 
Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities, 
Peaceful commerce from dividable shores, 
The primogenitive and due of birth. 
Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels, 
But by degree, stand in authentic place ? 

Troilus and Cressida, i. iii. 103 — 108 

[Shakespeare's father applies for a coat of arms, Oct. 20, 1596. It is 
granted in 1599] 

Of Gentlemen 

Ordinarily the king doth only make knights and create 
barons or higher degrees: for as for gentlemen, they be 
made good cheap in England. For whosoever studieth the 
laws of the realm, who studieth in the universities, who 
professeth liberal sciences, and to be short, who can live idly 
and without manual labour, and will bear the port, charge 
and countenance of a gentleman, he shall be called master, 
for that is the title which men give to esquires and other 
gentlemen, and shall be taken for a gentleman : for true it 
is with us as is said, Tanti eris aliis quanti tibi feceris. And 
(if need be) a king of heralds shall also give him for money 
arms, newly made and invented, the title whereof shall pretend 
to have been found by the said herald in perusing and viewing 
of old registers, where his ancestors in times past had been 
recorded to bear the same : or if he will do it more truly and 
of better faith, he will write that for the merits of that man, 
and certain qualities which he doth see in him, and for sundry 
noble acts v/hich he hath performed, he, by the authority which 
he hath as king of heralds and arms, giveth to him and his 
heirs these and these arms, which being done I think he may 
be called a squire, for he beareth ever after those arms. Such 
men are called sometimes in scorn gentlemen of the first head.... 

Of Citizens and Burgesses 
Next to gentlemen, be appointed citizens and burgesses, 
such as not only be free and received as officers within the 
cities, but also be of some substance to bear the charges. But 
these citizens and burgesses be to serve the commonwealth in 
their cities and boroughs, or in corporate towns where they 



dwell. Generally in the shires they be of none accompt, save 
only in the common assembly of the realm to make laws, which 
is called the Parliament. The ancient cities appoint four and 
each borough two to have voices in it, and to give their consent 
or dissent in the name of the city or borough for which they 
be appointed. 

Of Yeomen 
Those whom we call _yeomen next unto the nobility ^ 
knights and squires^ h^y g thfi._ grr . .afp nf r hn rgft^anH _jf>ings in 
the commonwealth, or rather are more travailed to serve in it 
than all the rest : as shall appear hereafter. I call him a 
yeoman whom our laws do call legalem hominem^ a word familiar 
in writs and inquests, which is a freeman born English, and 
may dispend of his own free land in yearly revenue to the sum 
of 40/- sterling : this maketh (if the just value were taken now 
to the proportion of monies) £6 of our current money at this 
present. This sort of people confess themselves to be no gentle- 
men, but give the honour to all vi^^hich be or take upon them to 
be gentlemen, and yet tFfey have, a certain pre-eminence and 
more estimation than labourers and artificers, and commonly 
li^gjwealthily,, kfip.p -goodjiouses, aruL ^ their b usiness, and 
^trayailtn^cquire riches These be (for the most part) farmers 
unto gentlemen, which with grazing, frequenting of markets, 
and keeping servants not idle as the gentleman doth, but such 
as get both their own living and part of their master's: by 
these means do come to such wealth, that they are able and 
daily do buy the lands of unthrifty gentlemen, and after setting 
their ^ons to the j chpnl a,^ th^ vaivff''t^itif''j ^^ ^^^ 1ai»-^»£-<-hf» 
fpaW^nr ^th^rwiseleaving them siiffirjentjamls whereon they 
may live without labour, do make their said sons by those means 
gentlemen. These be not called masters, for that (as I said) 
pertaineth to gentlemen only : but to their surnames, men add 
goodman : as if the surname be Luter, Finch, White, Browne, 
they are called Goodman Luter, Goodman White, Goodman 
Finch, Goodman Browne, amongst their neighbours I mean, 
not in matters of importance or in law. But in matters of law 
and for distinction, if one were a knight they would write him 
(for example sake) Sir John Finch knight ; so if he be an esquire, 
John Finch esquire or gentleman ; if he be no gentleman, John 
Finch yeoman. For amongst the gentlemen they which claim 



no higher degree, and yet be to be exempted out of the number 
of the lowest sort thereof, be written esquires. So amongst 
the husbandmen, labourers, lowest and rascal sort of the people, 
such as be exempted out of the number of the rascability of the 
popular be called and written yeoman, as in the degree next 
unto gentlemen. . . . 

Of the fourth sort of men which do not rate 
The fourth sort or class amongst us is of those which the 
old Romans called c,apite censii proletarii or operae ^d^y labourers^ 
poor husbandmen, yea merchants and retailprf^ whir Vi Viavp nn 
jrpp land, cnpyhol derSj and all artifirprSj as failnrs, shoemakers^ 
rarjTenferSj brirkmriVers, reasons, etc. These have no voice 
nor authority in our commonwealth, and no account is made of 
them but only to be ruled, not to rule other, and yet they be 
not altogether neglected. For in cities and corporate towns for 
default of yeomen, inquests and juries are impanelled of such 
manner of people. And in villages they be commonly made 
churchwardens, aleconners, and many times constables, which 
office toucheth more the commonwealth and at the first was 
not employed upon such low and base persons. Wherefore 
ge nerally to speak o£the_c(HiimQiiffi£aJ<'hj nr pnliVy nf Fngj^nH^ 
itis go verned, aHministered, and manured by three sorts of 
persons^ fhp PrinrPj M nnarch, and head governor, which is . 
call e d th e King, o r if the m o wn fall to a won i an, the Queen 
jihsoi nt", ns T hflvp hfr^to for e s aid : in w hosp nn rnF'Z^.Il dJ ilJ' 
whose authority all things are adimnisteji^d* C Zhg gentl^ mea? 
which be divided into two parts, (me barony)or estate of lords 
containing barons and all that be aBiSve tlitTaegree or,a-b^on, 
(as I _have declared before) : and those which be n^Jx)rds^ as 
C^ights^ esquires, and«6implv,g6ft4€men. The thiroalT^last 
sort of persons is named th^^yeomanj^: each of these hath his 
part and administration in judgments, corrections of defaults, in 
election of offices, in appointing and collecting of tributes and 
subsidies, or in making laws, as shall appear hereafter. 
Sir Thomas Smith, De Kepuhlica Anglorum 1583 (written c. 1551) 

English snobbery 

In London, the rich disdain the poor. The courtier the 
citizen. The citizen the country man. Qne occupation 
disdaineth anothe r. The merchant the retaileE! "Ihe re- 



tailer the craftsman. The better sort of craftsmen the baser. 
The shoemaker the cobbler. The cobbler the carman. One 
nice dame disdains her next neighbour should have that 
furniture to her house, or dainty dish or device, which she 
wants. She will not go to church, because she disdains to mix 
herself with base company, and cannot have her close pew by 
herself. She disdains to wear that everyone wears, or hear that 
preacher which everyone hears. So did Jerusalem disdain God's 
prophets, because they came in the likeness of poor men. She 
disdained Amos, because he was a keeper of oxen, as also the 
rest, for they were of the dregs of the people. But their dis- 
dain prospered not with them. Their house, for their disdain, 
was left desolate unto them. 

Thomas Nashe, Christs Teares <yver lerusalem 1593 

The gentlemen disdain traffic, thinking it to abase gentry, 
but in Italy with graver counsel the very princes disdain not to 
be merchants by the great, and hardly leave the retailing com- 
modity to men of inferior sort. And by this course they 
preserve the dignity and patrimony of their progenitors, suffering 
not the sinew of the commonwealth upon any pretence to be 
wrested out of their hands. On the contrary, the English and 
French, perhaps thinking it unjust to leave the common sort no 
means to be enriched by their industry and judging it equal 
that gentlemen should live of their revenues, citizens by traffic, 
and the common sort by the plough and manual arts, as divers 
members of one body, do in this course daily sell their patri- 
monies, and the buyers (excepting lawyers) are for the most part 
citizens and vulgar men. And the daily feeling [? feeding] of this 
mischief makes the error apparent, whether it be the prodigality 
of the gentry (greater than in any other nation or age), or their 
too charitable regard to the inferior sort, or rashness, or slothful- 
ness, which cause them to neglect and despise traffic, which in 
some commonwealths, and namely in England passeth all other 
commodities, and is the very sinew of the kingdom. 

Fynes Moryson, Itinerary 1617 

English women (a foreign view) 

Wivei ^n England are entirely in the poffl jer-o^— their 
husband s, ^^'^'^ I jvp?^ nnly _ie2CCgjEited. Therefore, when they 
marry, they give up the surname of their father and of the 
family from which they are descended, and take the surname of 



their husbands, except in the case of duchesses, countesses and 
baronesses, who, when they marry gentlemen of inferior degree, 
retain their first name and title, which, for the ambition of the 
said ladies, is rather allowed than commended. But although 
the women there are entirely in the power of their husbands, 
except for their lives, yet they are not kept so strictly as they 
are in Spain or elsewhere. Nor are they shut up: but they 
haY g the free management of the house or houseke epirig^_after 
the fashion of those of the Netherlands, and others their 
neighbours. They go to market to buy what they like best to 
eat. They are well d rf'S'^pdj fnnH of X^^JS^lLSl'^y^x ^^^ 
commonly leave th e^ care of ho uselmldjnatters-aniLdrudger-y to 
their servants. They sit before their doors, decked out in fine . 
clothes, in order to see and be seen b y the passers-by. In all ^^ / ' 
banquets and feasts they are sh own the greatest honour; th ey {/^ 

are placed ^t. tb-^ rpp^^ P"d nf thp tnhl/^^ whprp thpy arp fhp 

first served; at the lower end they help the men. All the 
rest of their-time they employ in walking and riding, in playing / 
at car ds or otherwise^ m visiting their j riends^ and Jceeping ^^ 
c ompany, conversing with._their equals (whom they term ^. ^ 
gossips) and their neighbours, and making merry with them at ^q 
child-births, christenings, churchings and funerals ; and all this ^ 

\tti th the perpnissinn and knowledge of thcjr husban ds, as sucTT 
i«^ the (:^i«;tor"- Although the husbands often recommend to ^ 
them the pains, industry and care of the German or Dutch CT- 
women, who do what the men ought to do both in the house (^ <3 
and in the shops, for which services in England men are^yH^ i 
employed, nevertheless the women usually persist in retaining ^; 
their customs. This is why England is called the Paradise of . 
married women. The girls who are not yet married are kept ^ ' 

muc h m ore, ri gorously and strictly than jnuie Low CounSJSSt^ 
The women are beautiful, fair, welWressed and tjaodest/) 
which is seen there more than elsewhere, as they go about the 
streets without any covering either of huke or mantle, hood, 
veil, or the like. Married women only wear a hat both in the 
street and in the house; those unmarried go without a hat, 
although ladies of distinction have lately learnt to cover their 
faces with silken masks or vizards, and feathers, — for indeed 
they change very easily, and that every year, to the astonish- 
ment of many. 

Van Meteren, Nederlandtsche Historie 1575 [Rye] 


And this our life exempt from public haunt, 

Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks. 

Sermons in stones, and good in every thing. 

I would not change it. As Tou Like Ity ii. i. 15 — 18 

§ I. Country-folk 

A Country) Gentleman 

Remember who commended thy yellow stockings. 

Tifjelfth Night, 11. v. 160 

Is a thing, out of whose corruption the generation of 
a justice of peace is produced. He speaks statutes and 
husbandry well enough to make his neighbours think him 
a wise man; he is well skilled in arithmetic or rates: and 
hath eloquence enough to save his twopence. His conversa- 
tion amongst his tenants is desperate ; but amongst his equals 
full of doubt. His travel is seldom farther than the next 
market town, and his inquisition is about the price of corn : 
when he travelleth, he will go ten mile out of the way to a 
cousin's house of his to save charges ; and rewards the servants by 
taking them by the hand when he departs. Nothing under 
a subpoena can draw him to London : and, when he is there, 
he sticks fast upon every object, casts his eyes away upon 
gazing, and becomes the prey of every cutpurse. When he 
comes home, those wonders serve him for his holiday talk. If 
he go to court, it is in yellow stockings ; and if it be in winter, 
in a slight tafFety cloak, and pumps and pantoffles. He is 
chained that woes the usher for his coming into the presence, 
where he becomes troublesome with the ill managing of his 
rapier, and the wearing of his girdle of one fashion and the 
hanger of another. By this time he hath learned to kiss his 


hand, and make a leg both together, and the names of lords 
and councillors; he hath thus much toward entertainment 
and courtesy, but of the last he makes more use; for by the 
recital of " my lord," he conjures his poor countrymen. But 
this is not his element, he must home again, being like a dor, 
that ends his flight in a dunghill. 

Sir Thomas Overbury, Characters 1614 — 16 

A Franklin 

And you, good yeomen, 
Whose limbs were made in England, shew us here 
The mettle of your pasture Henry. F.^ 111. i. 25 — 27 

His outside is an ancient yeoman of England, though his 
inside may give arms (with the best gentlemen) and ne'er 
see the herald. There is no truer servant in the house than 
himself Though he be master, he says not to his servants, 
* Go to field,' but 'Let us go'; and with his own eye doth 
both fatten his flock, and set forward all manner of husbandry. 
He is taught by nature to be contented with a little ; his own 
fold yields him both food and raiment : he is pleased with any 
nourishment God sends, whilst curious gluttony ransacks, as it 
were, Noah's Ark for food, only to feed the riot of one meal. 
He is ne'er known to go to law; understanding, to be law- 
bound among men, is like to be hide-bound among his beasts ; 
they thrive not under it • and that such men sleep as unquietly, 
as if their pillows were stuffed with lawyers' pen-knives. When 
he builds, no poor tenant's cottage hinders his prospect : they 
are indeed his alms-houses, though there be painted on them 
no such superscription. He never sits up late, but when he 
hunts the badger, the vowed foe of his lambs: nor uses he any 
cruelty, but when he hunts the hare; nor subtlety, but when 
he setteth snares for the snite, or pit-falls for the black-bird; 
nor oppression, but when in the month of July, he goes to the 
next river, and shears his sheep. He allows of honest pastime, 
and thinks not the bones of the dead any thing bruised, or the 
worse for it, though the country lasses dance in the church- 
yard after evensong. Rock Monday, and the wake in summer, 
shrovings, the wakeful ketches on Christmas Eve, the hockey 
or seed cake, these he yearly keeps, yet holds them no relics of 
popery*. He is not so inquisitive after news derived from the 

* i.e. as the Puritans did. 



privy closet, when the finding an aerie of hawks in his own 
ground, or the foah'ng of a colt come of a good strain are 
tidings more pleasant, more profitable. He is lord paramount 
within himself, though he hold by never so mean a tenure; 
and dies the more contentedly (though he leave his heir young) 
in regard he leaves him not liable to a covetous guardian. 
Lastly, to end him; he cares not when his end comes, he 
needs not fear his audit, for his quietus is in heaven. 

Sir Thomas Overbury, Characters 1614 — 16 

A Farmer 

Is a concealed commodity. His worth or value is not fully 
known till he be half rotten : and then he is worth nothing. 
He hath religion enough to say, God bless his Majesty ; God send 
peace, and fair weather: so that one may glean harvest out of 
him to be his time of happiness : but the tithe-sheaf goes against 
his conscience; for he had rather spend the value upon his 
reapers and ploughmen than bestow any thing to the mainten- 
ance of a parson. He is sufficiently book-read, nay a profound 
doctor, if he can search into the diseases of cattle: and to 
foretell rain by tokens makes him a miraculous astronomer. 
To speak good English is more than he much regards; and 
for him not to contemn all arts and languages, were to 
condemn his own education. The pride of his housekeeping 
is a mess of cream, a pig, or a green goose : and if his servants 
can uncontrolled find the highway to the cupboard, it wins the 
name of a bountiful yeoman. Doubtless he would murmur 
against the Tribune's law, by which none might occupy more 
than five hundred acres, for he murmurs against himself, 
because he cannot purchase more. To purchase arms (if he 
emulates gentry) sets upon him like an ague: it breaks his 
sleep, takes away his stomach, and he can never be quiet till 
the herald hath given him the harrows, the cuckoo, or some 
ridiculous emblem for his armoury. The bringing up and 
marriage of his eldest son, is an ambition which afflicts him so 
soon as the boy is born, and the hope to see his son superior, or 
placed above him, drives him to dote upon the boy in his 
cradle. To peruse the statutes, and prefer them before the 
Bible makes him purchase the credit of a shrewd fellow; and 
then he brings all adversaries to composition ; and if at length he 



can discover himself in large legacies beyond expectation, he 
hath his desire. Meantime, he makes the prevention of a 
dearth his title to be thought a good commonwealth's man. 
And therefore he preserves a chandler's treasure of bacon, links 
and puddings in the chimney corner. He is quickly and 
contentedly put into the fashion, if his clothes be made against 
Whitsuntide, or Christmas day : and then outvi^ardly he con- 
temns appearance. He cannot therefore choose but hate a 
Spaniard likevt^ise, and (he thinks) that hatred only makes 
him a loyal subject: for benevolence and subsidies be more 
unseasonable to him, than his quarter's rent. Briefly, being 
a good housekeeper, he is an honest man : and so, he thinks of 
no rising higher, but rising early in the morning; and being 
up, he hath no end of motion, but wanders in his woods 
and pastures so continually, that when he sleeps, or sits, 
he wanders also. After this, he turns into his element, by 
being too venturous hot, and cold: then he is fit for nothing 
but a chequered grave: howsoever some may think him con- 
venient to make an everlasting bridge; because his best founda- 
tion hath been (perhaps) upon wool-packs. 

John Stephens, Essay es and Characters 1615 

A Fair and Happy) Milkmaid 

The queen of curds and cream. 

The Winter's Tale, IV. iv. 161 

A fair and happy milkmaid is a country wench, that is so 
far from making herself beautiful by art, that one look of hers 
IS able to put all face-physic out of countenance. She knows 
a fair look is but a dumb orator to commend virtue, therefore 
minds it not. All her excellencies stand in her so silently, as \i 
they had stolen upon her without her knowledge. The lining 
of her apparel (which is herself) is far better than outsides of 
tissue: for though she be not arrayed in the spoil of the silk- 
worm, she is decked in innocency, a far better wearing. She 
doth not, with lying long abed, spoil both her complexion and 
conditions. Nature hath taught her too immoderate sleep is 
rust to the soul. She rises therefore with chanticleer, her dame's 
cock, and at night makes the lamb her curfew. In milking 
a cow, and straining the teats through her fingers, it seems that 



so sweet a milk-press makes the milk the whiter or sweeter; 
for never came almond glove or aromatic ointment on her palm to 
taint it. The golden ears of corn fall and kiss her feet when 
she reaps them, as if they wished to be bound and led prisoners 
by the same hand that felled them. Her breath is her own, 
which scents all the year long of June, like a new-made hay-cock. 
She makes her hand hard with labour, and her heart soft with 
pity : and when winter evenings fall early (sitting at her merry 
wheel) she sings a defiance to the giddy wheel of fortune. She 
doth all things with so sweet a grace, it seems ignorance 
will not suffer her to do ill, being her mind is to do well. 
She bestows her year's wages at next fair; and in choosing her 
garments, counts no bravery in the world like decency. The 
garden and bee-hive are all her physic and chirurgery, and she 
lives the longer for it. She dares go alone and unfold sheep in 
the night, and fears no manner of ill, because she means none : 
yet to say truth, she is never alone, for she is still accompanied 
with old songs, honest thoughts and prayers, but short ones; 
yet they have their efficacy, in that they are not palled with 
ensuing idle cogitations. Lastly, her dreams are so chaste, 
that she dare tell them; only a Friday's dream is all her 
superstition: that she conceals for fear of anger. Thus lives 
she, and all her care is she may die in the spring-time, to have 
store of flowers stuck upon her winding-sheet. 

Sir Thomas Overbury, Characters 1614 — \6 

A Shepherd 

Corin. Sir, I am a true labourer : I earn that I eat, get that I wear, owe 
no man hate, envy no man's happiness, glad of other men's good, content 
with my harm ; and the greatest of my pride is to see my ewes graze and 
my lambs suck. As Tou Like It, in. ii. 78 — 82 

An honest shepherd is a man that well verifies the Latin 
piece, qui bene latuit bene vixit : he lives well that lives retired : 
for he is always thought the most innocent because he is least 
public: and certainly I cannot well resolve you whether his 
sheep or he be more innocent. Give him fat lambs and fair 
weather, and he knows no happiness beyond them. He shows, 
most fitly among all professions, that nature is contented with 
a little. For the sweet fountain is his fairest alehouse : the sunny 
bank his best chamber. Adam had never less need of neighbours' 



friendship; nor was at any time troubled with neighbours' envy 
less than he : the next grove or thicket will defend him from 
a shower : and if they be not so favourable, his homely palace 
is not far distant. He proves quietness to be best contentment, 
and that there is no quietness like a certain rest. His flock 
affords him his whole raiment, outside and linings, cloth and 
leather: and instead of much costly linen, his little garden 
yields hemp enough to make his lockram shirts: which do 
preserve his body sweetened against court-itch and poxes, as 
a sear-cloth sweetens carcasses. He gives the just epitome of 
a contented man : for he is neither daunted with lightning and 
thunder, nor overjoyed with spring-time and harvest. His 
daily life is a delightful work, whatsoever the work be; 
whether to mend his garments, cure a diseased sheep, instruct 
his dog, or change pastures: and these be pleasant actions, 
because voluntary, patient, not interrupted. He comprehends 
the true pattern of a moderate wise man : for as a shepherd, so 
a moderate man hath the supremacy over his thoughts and 
passions: neither hath he any affection of so wild a nature, 
but he can bring it into good order, with an easy whistle. 
The worst temptation of his idleness teaches him no further 
mischief, than to love entirely some nut-brown milk-maid, or 
hunt the squirrel, or make his cosset wanton. He may turn 
many rare esteemed physicians into shame and blushing : for 
whereas they, with infinite compounds and fair promises, do 
carry men to death the furthest way about; he with a few 
simples preserves himself and family to the most lengthened 
sufferance of nature. Tar and honey be his mithridates and 
syrups; the which, together with a Christmas carol, defend 
his desolate life from cares and melancholy. With little 
knowledge and a simple faith, he purifies his honest soul, 
in the same manner as he can wash his body in an obscure 
fountain, better than in the wide ocean. When he seems lazy 
and void of action, I dare approve his harmless negligence, 
rather than many approved men's diligence. Briefly he is the 
perfect allegory of a most blessed governor : and he that will 
pursue the trope's invention, may make this character a 

John Stephens, Essayes and Characters 1615 



§ 2. Sport 


Come, shall we go and kill us venison ? 
And yet it irks me, the poor dappled fools, 
Being native burghers of this desert city, 
Should in their own confines with forked heads 
Have their round haunches gor'd. 

As Tou Like It^ ii. i. 21 — 25 

I think it not amiss to begin and give that recreation 
precedency of place, which in mine opinion (however it may 
be esteemed partial) doth many degrees go before and precede 
all other, as being most royal for the stateliness thereof, most 
artificial for the wisdom and cunning thereof, and most manly 
and warlike for the use and endurance thereof. And this I hold 
to be the hunting of wild beasts in general : of which, as the 
chases are many, so will I speak of them particularly in their 
proper places. But before I proceed any farther I will tell 
you what hunting is, and from the true definition thereof make 
your way more easy and plain into the hidden art of the same. 
Hunting is then a curious search or conquest of one beast over 
another, pursued by a natural instinct of enmity, and accom- 
plished by the diversities and distinction of smells only, wherein 
Nature equally dividing her cunning giveth both to the offender 
and offended strange knowledge both of offence and safety. 
In this recreation is to be seen the wonderful power of God in 
his creatures, and how far rage and policy can prevail against 
innocence and wisdom. But to proceed to my main purpose, 
you shall understand that as the chases are many which we 
daily hunt, as that of the stag, the buck, the roe, the hare, the 
fox, the badger, the otter, the boar, the goat and suchlike, so 
the pursuers or conquerors of these chases (speaking of hunting 
only) are but one kind of creatures, namely hounds. 

Gervase Markham, Countrey Contentments 1611 

Preparations for the chase 

Immediately after supper the huntsman should go to his 
master's chamber, and, if he serve a king, then let him go to 
the Master of the Games' chamber, to know his pleasure in 
what quarter he determineth to hunt the day following, that 
he may know his own quarter. That done, he may go to bed, 


An Elizabethan Huntsman 


to the end he may rise the earlier in the morning, according to 
the time and season, and according to the place where he must 
hunt. Then, when he is up and ready, let him drink a good 
draught and fetch his hound to make him break his fast a little. 
And let him not forget to fill his bottle with good wine. That 
done, let him take a little vinegar in the palm of his hand, and 
put it in the nostrils of his hound, for to make him snufF, to 
the end his scent may be the perfecter. Then let him to 
the wood. And if he chance by the way to find any hare, 
partridge, or any other beast or bird that is fearful, living upon 
seeds or pasturage, it is an evil sign or presage that he shaD 
have but evil pastime that day. But if he find any beast of 
ravine, living upon prey, as wolf, fox, raven and such like, that 
is a token of good luck. 

George Turbervile, The noble arte of 'venerie or hunting 1576 

The cry of the hounds 

My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind, 
So flew'd, so sanded j and their heads are hung 
With ears that sweep away the morning dew ; 
Crook-knee'd, and dew-lapp'd like Thessalian bulls j 
Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells, 
Each under each. 

A Midsummer Night's Dreamy iv. i. 125 — 130 

If you would have your kennel for sweetness of cry, then 
you must compound it of some large dogs that have deep 
solemn mouths and are swift in spending, which must, as it 
were, bear the bass in the consort, then a double number of 
roaring and loud ringing mouths which must bear the counter- 
tenor, then some hollow plain sweet mouths which must bear 
the mean or middle part : and so with these three parts of music 
you shall make your cry perfect : and herein you shall observe 
that these hounds thus mixed do run just and even together, 
and not hang off loose one from another, which is the vilest 
sight that may be, and you shall understand that this composi- 
tion is best to be made of the swiftest and largest deep-mouthed 
dog, the slowest middle sized dog, and the shortest-legged slender 
dog ; and if amongst these you cast in a couple or two of small 
singing beagles, which as small trebles may warble amongst 
them, the cry will be a great deal the sweeter.... 

W. B 17 


If you would have your kennel for depth of mouth, then 
you shall compound it of the largest dogs, which have the 
greatest mouths and deepest flews, such as your west-country 
Cheshire and Lancashire dogs are, and to five or six couple of 
bass mouths you shall not add above two couple of counter- 
tenors, as many means, and not above one couple of roarers, 
which being heard but now and then, as at the opening or 
hitting of a scent, will give much sweetness to the solemnness 
and graveness of the cry, and the music thereof will be much 
more delightful to the ears of every beholder. 

Gervase Markham, Countrey Contentments 1611 

Fooibatt (a puritan 'viem)) 

Am I so round with you as you with me, 

That like a football you do spurn me thus? 

You spurn me hence, and he will spurn me hither: 

If I last in this service, you must case me in leather. 

The Comedy of Errors, 11. i. 82 — 85 

For as concerning football playing, I protest unto you it 
may rather be called a friendly kind of fight, than a play or 
recreation; a bloody and murdering practice, than a fellowly 
sport or pastime. For doth not every one lie in wait for his 
adversary, seeking to overthrow him and to pick him on his nose, 
/ though it be upon hard stones, in ditch or dale, in valley or hill, 
' or what place soever it be he careth not, so he have him down. 
And he that can serve the most of this fashion, he is counted 
the only fellow, and who but he? So that by this means, some- 
times their necks are broken, sometimes their backs, sometimes 
their legs, sometime their arms, sometime one part thrust out 
of joint, sometime another, sometime their noses gush out with 
blood, sometime their eyes start out, and sometimes hurt in one 
place, sometimes in another. But whosoever scapeth away the 
best goeth not scot-free, but is either sore v»^ounded, and 
bruised, so as he dieth of it, or else scapeth very hardly. And 
no marvel, for they have sleights to meet one betwixt two, 
to dash him against the heart with their elbows, to hit him 
under the short ribs with their gripped fists, and with their knees 
to catch him upon the hip, and to pick him on his neck, with an 
hundred such murdering devices. And hereof groweth envy, 
malice, rancour, choler, hatred, displeasure, enmity and what 



not else: and sometimes lighting, brawling, contention, quarrel 
picking, murder, homicide and great effusion of blood, as 
experience daily teach eth. 

Philip Stubbes, The Anatomie of Abuses 1583 (2nd ed.) 

A bowl-alley is the place where there are three things thrown 
away besides bowls, to wit, time, money and curses, and the last 
ten for one. The best sport in it is the gamester's, and he 
enjoys it that looks on and bets not. It is the school of 
wrangling, and worse than the schools, for men will cavil here 
for an hair's breadth, and make a stir where a straw would end 
the controversy. No antic screws men's bodies into such 
strange flexures, and you would think them here senseless, to 
speak sense to their bowl, and put their trust in entreaties for 
a good cast. The bettors are the factious noise of the alley, 
or the gamesters' beadsmen that pray for them. They are 
somewhat like those that are cheated by great men, for they 
lose their money and must say nothing. It is the best discovery 
of humours; especially in the losers, where you have fine variety 
of impatience, whilst some fret, some rail, some swear, and 
others more ridiculously comfort themselves with philosophy. 
To give you the moral of it : it is the emblem of the world, 
or the world's ambition; where most are short, or over, or 
wide, or wrong-biased, and some few jostle into the "mistress" 
fortune. And it is here as in the court, where the nearest are 
most spited, and all blows aimed at the "toucher." 

John Earle, Micro-cosmographie 1628 

A Cock-fight 

At Stanwick, my son had going with his hens a young cock 
of a stout and large breed, with very large jollops hanging down 
on either side of his beak, and a friend of his giving him after- 
wards a cock and a hen of the game, as they call them (the 
cockscomb and jollops being finely cut off, close to the head, for 
advantage in fighting) it fell out that the two cocks, meeting in 
the yard together, fell close to their fight; where the younger 
cock fought stoutly a good while, till the old cock, taking 
advantage of his large jollops hanging so low, took hold thereof, 

B 2 19 


for raising himself to wound the young cock at every blow: 
which being observed by the spectators, they parted the fray for 
the present, and caused the young cock's pendant jollops to be 
cut off, and his head trim'd for the fight, as the old cock's was, 
who had at first so beaten the young cock, that he durst not 
stay within his view. But after the sores of his jollops' cut were 
healed, the young cock coming abroad again, the old cock ran 
presently upon him to have made him run away as he was 
wont to do before. But the young cock turning again, and 
they falling to a new fight, very sharp and eager on both sides, 
at last the old cock finding his old hold of the young cock's 
jollops taken from him, was fain to cry creak, and to run away 
as fast from the young cock, as the young cock did from him 
before ; and ever after the young cock was master of the field. 

R. Willis, Mount Tabor 1639 

A Local Pta^ 

[The interest of this piece lies in the fact that the author was born in 
the same year as Shakespeare, 1564. Similar plays were no doubt given 
at Stratford.] 

In the city of Gloucester, the manner is (as I think it is in 
other like corporations) that when players of interludes come 
to town, they first attend the mayor, to inform him what 
nobleman's servants they are, and so to get licence for their 
public playing; and if the mayor like the actors, or would 
shew respect to their lord and master, he appoints them to 
play their first play before himself and the aldermen and 
common council of the city; and that is called the mayor's 
play, where everyone that will, comes in without money, the 
mayor giving the players a reward as he thinks fit to shew 
respect unto them. At such a play my father took me with 
him, and made me stand between his legs, as he sat upon one 
of the benches, where we saw and heard very well. The play 
was called The Cradle of Security^ wherein was personated 
a king or some great prince, with his courtiers of several kinds, 
amongst which three ladies were in special grace with him ; and 
they keeping him in delights and pleasures, drew him from his 
graver counsellors, hearing of sermons, and listening to good 
counsel and admonitions, that in the end they got him to lie 



down in a cradle upon the stage, where these three ladies 
joining in a sweet song rocked him asleep, that he snorted 
again, and in the meantime closely conveyed under the 
cloths wherewithal he was covered, a vizard like a swine's 
snout upon his face, with three wire chains fastened thereunto, 
the other end whereof being holden severally by those three 
ladies, who fall to singing again, and then discovered his face, 
that the spectators might see how they had transformed him, 
going on with their singing. Whilst all this was acting, there 
came forth of another door at the farthest end of the stage, two 
old men, the one in blue, with a sergeant at arms, his mace on 
his shoulder, the other in red, with a drawn sword in his hand, 
and leaning with the other hand upon the other's shoulder ; and 
so they two went along in a soft pace round about by the skirt 
of the stage, till at last they came to the cradle, when all the 
court was in greatest jollity; and then the foremost old man 
with his mace stroke a fearful blow upon the cradle ; whereat 
all the courtiers, with the three ladies and the vizard, all 
vanished ; and the desolate prince starting up bare-faced, and 
finding himself thus sent for to judgment, made a lamentable 
complaint of his miserable case, and so was carried away by 
wicked spirits. This prince did personate in the moral, the 
wicked of the world; the three ladies. Pride, Covetousness, and 
Luxury ; the two old men, the end of the world, and the last 

This sight took such impression in me, that when I came 
towards man's estate it was as fresh in my memory, as if I had 
seen it newly acted. From whence I observe out of mine own 
experience, what great care should be had in the education of 
children, to keep them from seeing of spectacles of ill examples, 
and hearing of lascivious or scurrilous words; for that their 
young memories are like fair writing-tables, wherein if the fair 
sentences or lessons of grace be written, they may (by God's 
blessing) keep them from many vicious blots of life, wherewithal 
they may otherwise be tainted... And withal we may observe, 
how far unlike the plays and harmless morals of former times 
are to those which have succeeded ; many of which (by report 
of others) may be termed schoolmasters of vice, and provoca- 
tions to corruptions. 

R. Willis, Mount Tabor 1639 




§ 3. Festival 

Christmas Da^ 

Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes 
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated, 
The bird of dawning singeth all night long: 
And then, they say, no spirit can walk abroad ; 
The nights are wholesome ; then no planets strike, 
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, 
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time. 

Hamlety i. i. 158 — 164 

It is now Christmas, and not a cup of drink must pass 
without a carol ; the beasts, fowl, and fish, come to a general 
execution; and the corn is ground to dust for the bakehouse, 
and the pastry. Cards and dice purge many a purse, and the 
youth shew their agility in shoeing of the wild mare. Now " Good 
cheer" and "Welcome," and "God be with you," and "I thank 
you," and "Against the new year," provide for the presents. The 
Lord of Misrule is no mean man for his time, and the guests of 
the high table must lack no wine. The lusty bloods must look 
about them like men, and piping and dancing puts away much 
melancholy. Stolen venison is sweet, and a fat coney is worth 
money. Pit-falls are now set for small birds, and a woodcock 
hangs himself in a gin. A good fire heats all the house, and 
a full alms-basket makes the beggars prayers. The masquers and 
mummers make the merry sport: but if they lose their money, 
their drum goes dead. Swearers and swaggerers are sent away 
to the ale-house, and unruly wenches go in danger of judgment. 
Musicians now make their instruments speak out, and a good 
song is worth the hearing. In sum, it is a holy time, a duty 
in Christians for the remembrance of Christ, and custom 
among friends for the maintainance of good fellowship. In 
brief, I thus conclude of it: I hold it a memory of the Heaven's 
love and the world's peace, the mirth of the honest, and the 
meeting of the friendly. 

Nicholas Breton, Fantasiickes 1626 



It is now Good Friday, and a general fast must be kept 
among all Christians, in remembrance of Christ's Passion. 
Flesh and fish must be banished all stomachs strong or weak. 
Now begins the farewell to thin fare, and the fishmongers 
may shut up their shops till the holy-days be past. The butchers 
now must wash their boards, make clean their aprons, sharpen 
their knives, and sort their pricks, and cut out their meat for 
Easter-Eve market. Now must the poulterers make ready their 
rabbits and their fowl, the cooks have their ovens clean, and all 
for pies and tarts against the merry feast. Now the maids bestir 
them about their houses, the launders about their linen, the 
tailors about apparel, and all for this holy time. Now young 
lambs, young rabbits, and young chickens die for fine appetites, 
and now the minstrel tunes his instruments, to have them 
ready for the young people. But with the aged and the religious, 
there is nothing but sorrow and mourning, confession, contri- 
tion, and absolution, and I know not what. Few that are merry, 
but children that break up school, and wenches that are upon 
the marriage. In sum, it is such an odd day by itself, that I will 
only make this conclusion of it: it is the bridle of nature, and 
the examiner of reason. 

Nicholas Breton, Fantastickes 1626 

It is now Easter, and Jack of Lent is turned out of doors. 
The fishermen now hang up their nets to dry, while the calf 
and the lamb walk toward the kitchen and the pastry. The 
velvet heads of the forests fall at the loose of the cross-bow. 
The salmon-trout plays with the fly, and the March rabbit runs 
dead into the dish. The Indian commodities pay the merchant's 
adventure : and Barbary sugar puts honey out of countenance. 
The holy feast is kept for the faithful, and a known Jew hath 
no place among Christians. The earth now begins to paint her 
upper garment, and the trees put out their young buds. The 
Htde kids chew their cuds, and the swallow feeds on the flies in 
the air. The stork cleanseth the brooks of the frogs, and the 
spar-hawk prepares her wing for the partridge. The little fawn is 
stolen from the doe, and the male deer begin to herd. The spirit 
of youth is inclined to mirth, and the conscionable scholar will 



not break a holy-day. The minstrel calls the maid from her 
dinner, and the lover's eyes do troll like tennis balls. There 
is mirth and joy, when there is health and liberty : and he that 
hath money will be no mean man in his mansion. The air is 
wholesome and the sky comfortable, the flowers odoriferous 
and the fruits pleasant. I conclude, it is a day of much de- 
lightfulness ; the sun's dancing day, and the earth's holy-day. 

Nicholas Breton, Fantastickes 1626 

May-day (a puritan 'viem>) 

They rose up early to observe 
The rite of May. 

A Midsummer Night* s Dream, iv. i. 138 — 139 

Against May, Whitsunday, or some other time of the year, 
every parish, town and village assemble themselves together, 
both men, women and children, old and young, even all in- 
differently ; and either going all together or dividing themselves 
into companies,, they go some to the woods and groves, some to 
the hills and mountains, some to one place and some to another, 
where they spend all the night in pleasant pastimes ; and in the 
morning they return, bringing with them birch boughs and 
branches of trees, to deck their assemblies withal. And no 
marvel, for there is a great lord present amongst them, as super- 
intendent and lord over their pastimes and sports, namely Sathan, 
prince of hell. But their chiefest jewel they bring from thence 
is their May-pole, which they bring home with great veneration, 
as thus. They have twenty or forty yoke of oxen, every ox 
having a sweet nose-gay of flowers placed on the tip of his horns ; 
and these oxen draw home this May-pole (this stinking idol, 
rather) which is covered all over with flowers and herbs, bound 
round about with strings from the top to the bottom, and some- 
time painted with variable colours, with two or three hundred 
men, women and children following it with great devotion. And 
thus being reared up with handkerchiefs and flags streaming on the 
top, they straw the ground about, bind green boughs about it, set 
up summer-halls, bowers, and arbours hard by it ; and then they 
fall to banquet and feast, to leap and dance about it, as the 
heathen people did at the dedication of their idols, whereof this 
is a perfect pattern, or rather the thing itself. 

Philip Stubbes, T/ie Anatomie of Abuses 1583 (and cd.) 



Robin Hood 

I came once myself to a place, riding on a journey home- 
ward from London, and I sent word over night into the town 
that I would preach there in the morning because it was holy 
day, and methought it was an holy day's work. The church 
stood in my way, and I took my horse, and my company, and 
went thither. I thought I should have found a great company 
in the church, and when I came there, the church door was 
fast locked. 

I tarried there half an hour and more, at last the key was 
found, and one of the parish comes to me and says: "Sir this is 
a busy day with us, we cannot hear you, it is Robin Hood's 
day. The parish are gone abroad to gather for Robin Hood. I 
pray you let them not." I was fain there to give place to Robin 
Hood ; I thought my rochet should have been regarded, though 
I were not, but it would not serve, it was fain to give place to 
Robin Hood's men. 

It is no laughing matter my friends, it is a weeping matter, » 
a heavy matter, under the pretence for gathering for Robin 
Hood, a traitor, and a thief, to put out a preacher, to have his 
office less esteemed, to prefer Robin Hood before the ministration 
of God's word, and all this hath come of unpreaching prelates. 
This realm hath been ill provided for, that it hath had such 
corrupt judgments in it, to prefer Robin Hood to God's word. 

Bishop Hugh Latimer, Sermon preached before Ednvard H, 

April 12, 1549 

The Lord of Misrule (a puritan 'viem)) 

The name, indeed, is odious both to God and good men, 
and such as the very heathen people would have blushed at, once 
to have named amongst them. And if the name importeth 
some evil, then what may the thing itself be, judge you ? But 
because you desire to know the manner of them, I will show 
you as I have seen them practised myself. First, all the wild- 
heads of the parish, conventing together, choose them a Grand- 
Captain (of all mischief) whom they ennoble with the title 
of my Lord of Misrule, and him they crown with great 
solemnity, and adopt for their king. This king annointed, 
chooseth forth twenty, forty, threescore or a hundred lusty 



guts, like to himself, to wait upon his lordly majesty, and to 
guard his noble person. Then, every one of these his men, 
he investeth with his liveries of green, yellow, or some other 
light wanton colour ; and as though they were not (bawdy) 
gaudy enough I should say, they bedeck themselves with 
scarfs, ribbons and laces hanged all over with gold rings, 
precious stones, and other jewels : this done, they tie about 
either leg twenty or forty bells, with rich handkerchiefs in 
their hands, and sometimes laid across over their shoulders and 
necks, borrowed for the most part of their pretty Mopsies and 
loving Bessies, for bussing them in the dark. Thus all things 
set in order, then have they their hobby-horses, dragons and 
other antics, together with their bawdy pipers and thundering 
drummers to strike up the devil's dance withal. Then march 
these heathen company towards the church and church-yard, 
their pipers piping, their drummers thundering, their stumps 
dancing, their bells jingling, their handkerchiefs swinging about 
their heads like madmen, their hobby-horses and other monsters 
skirmishing amongst the throng : and in this sort they go to the 
church (I say) and into the church, (though the minister be at 
prayer or preaching), dancing and swinging their handkerchiefs, 
over their heads in the church, like devils incarnate, with such 
a confused noise, that no man can hear his own voice. Then, 
the foolish people they look, they stare, they laugh, they fleer, 
and mount upon forms and pews to see these goodly pageants 
solemnized in this sort. Then, after this, about the church 
they go again and again, and so forth into the church-yard, 
where they have commonly their summer-halls, their bowers, 
arbours, and banquetting houses set up, wherein they feast, 
banquet and dance all that day and (peradventure) all the night 
too. And thus these terrestrial furies spend the Sabbath day. 
They have also certain papers, wherein is painted some 
babblery or other of imagery work, and these they call * my 
Lord of Misrule's badges ' : these they give to every one that 
will give money for them to maintain them in their heathenry, 
devilry, whoredom, drunkenness, pride, and what not. And 
who will not show himself buxom to them, and give them money 
for these the devil's cognizances, they shall be mocked and flouted 
at shamefully. And so assotted are some, that they not only 
give them money to maintain their abomination withal, but also 



wear their badges and cognizances in their hats or caps openly. 
But let them take heed ; for these are the badges, seals, brands, 
and cognizances of the devil, whereby he knoweth his servants 
and clients from the children of God, and so long as they wear 
them, Sub vexillo diaholi militant contra Do7ninum et legem suam : 
they fight under the banner and standard of the devil against 
Christ Jesus, and all his laws. Another sort of fantastical fools 
bring to these hell-hounds (the Lord of Misrule and his com- 
plices) some bread, some good ale, some new cheese, some old 
cheese, some custards, and cakes, some flawns, some tarts, some 
cream, some meat, some one thing, some another; but if they 
knew that as often as they bring anything to the maintainance 
of these execrable pastimes, they offer sacrifice to the devil and 
Sathanas, they would repent and withdraw their hands; which 
God grant they may ! 

Philip Stubbes, The Anatomie of Abuses^ 1583 (2nd ed.) 

The Country in Spring 

When daisies pied and violets blue 

And lady-smocks all silver-white 
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue 

Do paint the meadows with delight, 
The cuckoo then, on every tree, 
Mocks married men ; for thus sings he, 
Cuckoo ; 

Cuckoo, cuckoo : O word of fear, 

Unpleasing to a married ear ! 


When shepherds pipe on oaten straws, 

And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks, 
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws, 

And maidens bleach their summer smocks, 
The cuckoo then, on every tree. 
Mocks married men j for thus sings he. 
Cuckoo ; 

Cuckoo, cuckoo : O word of fear, 

Unpleasing to a married earl 



The Country in Winter 
When icicles hang by the wall, 

And Dick the shepherd blows his nail, 
And Tom bears logs into the hall. 

And milk comes frozen home in pail, 
When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul. 
Then nightly sings the staring owl, 
Tu-who ; 
Tu-whit, tu-who — a merry note. 
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot 


When all aloud the wind doth blow, 
And coughing drowns the parson's saw. 

And birds sit brooding in the snow, 
And Marian's nose looks red and raw, 

When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl, 

Then nightly sings the staring owl, 
Tu-who J 
Tu-whit, tu-who — a merry note, 
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot. 

Lo-ve's Labour's Lost, V. ii. 902 — 937 



Horatio. O day and night, but this is wondrous strange! 
Hamlet. And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. 

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. 

Hamlety i. v. 164. — 167 

O ! these flaws and starts — 
Impostors to true fear — would well become 
A woman's story at a winter's fire, 
Authoriz'd by her grandam. Macbethj ill iv. 63 — 66 

§ I. The nature of superstition 

Superstition is godless religion, devout impiety. The super- 
stitious is fond in observation, servile in fear : he worships God, 
but as he lists : he gives God what he asks not, more than he 
asks, and all but what he should give ; and makes more sins than 
the ten commandments. This man dares not stir forth, till his 
breast be crossed and his face sprinkled. If but a hare cross 
him the way, he returns; or, if his journey began unawares 
on the dismal day ; or, if he stumbled at the threshold. If he 
see a snake unkilled, he fears a mischief: if the salt fall towards 
him, he looks pale and red, and is not quiet, till one of the 
waiters have poured wine on his lap: and when he sneezeth, 
thinks them not his friends that uncover not. In the morning, 
he listens whether the crow crieth even or odd ; and, by that 
token, presages of the weather. If he hear but a raven croak 
from the next roof, he makes his will ; or, if a bittour fly over 
his head by night: but, if his troubled fancy shall second his 
thoughts with the dream of a fair garden, or green rushes, or 



the salutation of a dead friend, he takes leave of the world, and 
says he cannot live. He will never set to sea but on a Sunday; 
neither ever goes without an Erra Pater in his pocket. St. Paul's 
day, and St. Swithin's, with the Twelve, are his oracles; which 
he dares believe against the almanac. When he lies sick on 
his death-bed, no sin troubles him so much, as that he did once 
eat flesh on a Friday: no repentance can expiate that; the rest 
need none. There is no dream of his, without an interpretation, 
without a prediction ; and, if the event answer not his exposi- 
tion, he expounds it according to the event. Every dark grove 
and pictured wall strikes him with an awful, but carnal 
devotion. Old wives and stars are his counsellors : his night- 
spell is his guard; and charms, his physicians. He wears 
Paracelsian characters for the toothache : and a little hallowed 
wax is his antidote for all evils. This man is strangely 
credulous; and calls impossible things, miraculous. If he hear 
that some sacred block speaks, moves, weeps, smiles, his bare 
feet carry him thither with an offering; and, if a danger miss 
him in the way, his saint hath the thanks. Some ways he 
will not go; and some he dares not: either there are bugs, or 
he feigneth them: every lantern is a ghost, and every noise is 
of chains. He knows not why, but his custom is to go a little 
about, and to leave the cross still on the right-hand. One 
event is enough to make a rule : out of these rules he concludes 
fashions, proper to himself; and nothing can turn him out of 
his own course. If he have done his task, he is safe : it matters 
not, with what affection. Finally, if God would let him be 
the carver of his own obedience, he could not have a better 
subject : as he is, he cannot have a worse. 

Joseph Hall, Characters of Fertues and rices 1 608 

The spirit that I have seen 
May be the devil : and the devil hath power 
To assume a pleasing shape j yea, and perhaps 
Out of my weakness and my melancholy — 
As he is veiy potent with such spirits — 
Abuses me to damn me. Hamlety 11. ii. 635 — 640 

Many through melancholy do imagine, that they see or 
hear visions, spirits, ghosts, strange noises, &c. : as I have 
already proved before, at large. Many again through fear 



proceeding from a cowardly nature and complexion, or from 
an effeminate and fond bringing up, are timorous and afraid of 
spirits, and bugs, Sec, Some through imperfection of sight 
also are afraid of their own shadows, and (as Aristotle saith) see 
themselves sometimes as it were in a glass. And some through 
weakness of body have such imperfect imaginations. Drunken 
men also sometimes suppose they see trees walk, &c. : according 
to that which Solomon saith to the drunkards: "Thine eyes 
shall see strange visions, and marvellous appearances." 

Reginald Scot, T/ie Discoverie of Witchcraft 1584 

§ 2. Ghosts and Spirits 

Ghosts, wandering here and there. 
Troop home to churchyards : damned spirits all. 
That in cross-ways and floods have burial. 
Already to their wormy beds are gone ; 
For fear lest day should look their shames upon. 
They wilfully themselves exile from light, 
And must for aye consort with black-brow'd night. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream, in. ii. 381 — 387 

How many stories and books are written of walking spirits 
and souls of men, contrary to the word of God, a reasonable 
volume cannot contain. How common an opinion was it 
among the papists, that all souls walked on the earth, after 
they departed from their bodies? In so much as it was in the 
time of popery a usual matter to desire sick people in their 
death beds, to appear to them after their death, and to reveal 
their estate. The fathers and ancient doctors of the church 
were too credulous herein, &c. Therefore no marvel, though 
the common simple sort of men, and least of all that women 
be deceived herein. God in times past did send down visible, 
angels and appearances to men; but now he doth not so. 
Through ignorance of late in religion, it was thought that 
every churchyard swarmed with souls and spirits: but now the 
word of God being more free, open, and known, those conceits 
and illusions are made more manifest and apparent.... 

And first you shall understand, that they hold that all the 
souls in heaven may come down and appear to us when they 
list, and assume any body saving their own : otherwise (say they) 



such souls should not be perfectly happy. They say that you 
may know the good souls from the bad very easily. For a 
damned hath a very heavy and sour look; but a saint's soul 
hath a cheerful and a merry countenance : these also are white 
and shining, the other coal black. And these damned souls also 
may come up out of hell at their pleasure ; although Abraham 
made Dives believe the contrary. They affirm that damned 
souls walk oftenest : next unto them the souls of purgatory ; 
and most seldom the souls of saints. Also they say that in the 
old law souls did appear seldom; and after doomsday they 
shall never be seen more: in the time of grace they shall be 
most frequent. The walking of these souls (saith Michael 
Andreas) is a most excellent argument for the proof of purga- 
tory : for (saith he) those souls have testified that which the popes 
have affirmed in that behalf; to wit, that there is not only such 
a place of punishment, but that they are released from thence 
by masses, and such other satisfactory works; whereby the 
goodness of the mass is also ratified and confirmed. 

These heavenly and purgatory souls (say they) appear most 
commonly to them that are born upon ember days, and they 
also walk most usually on those ember days: because we are in 
best state at that time to pray for the one, and to keep company 
with the other. Also they say, that souls appear oftenest by 
night ; because men may then be at best leisure, and most quiet. 
Also they never appear to the whole multitude, seldom to 
a few, and most commonly to one alone : for so one may tell 
a lie without controlment. Also they are oftenest seen by 
them that are ready to die. 

Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft 1584 


I charge thee, Satan, hous'd within this man, 
To yield possession to my holy prayers. 
And to thy state of darkness hie thee straight: 
I conjure thee by all the saints in heaven. 

The Comedy of Error Sy iv. iv. 56 — 59 

If a soul wander in the likeness of a man or woman by 
night, molesting men, with bewailing their torments in purga- 
tory, by reason of tithes forgotten, &c. : and neither masses 
nor conjurations can help; the exorcist in his ceremonial 



apparel must go to the tomb of that body, and spurn thereat 
with his foot, saying : ^^Vade ad gehennam^ Get thee packing to 
hell" : and by and by the soul goeth thither, and there remaineth 
for ever. 

Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft 1584 

§ 3. Witchcraft 

What are these, 
So wither'd and so wild in their attire, 
That look not like th' inhabitants o' the earth, 
And yet are on 't ? Live you ? or are you aught 
That man may question ? You seem to understand me,' 
By each at once her choppy finger laying 
Upon her skinny lips : you should be women, 
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret 
That you are so. Macbeth, i. iii. 39 — 47 

King James and Witches in Scotland 

First Witch. ...In a sieve I'll thither sail. 

And, like a rat without a tail, 

I'll do, rU do, and rU do. 
Second Witch. I'll give thee a wind. 
First Witch. Thou'rt kind. 
Third Witch. And I another. 
First Witch. I myself have all the other; 
« # ♦ • 

Though his bark cannot be lost, 

Yet it shall be tempest-tost. Macbeth, I. iii. 8 — 25 

[It is well-known that Macbeth was written for the eye of King James. 
The following account of actual doings in Scotland seems to throw light 
upon Shakespeare's description of the witches.] 

Within the town of Trenent, in the kingdom of Scotland, 
there dwelleth one David Seaton, who, being deputy bailiff in 
the said town, had a maid called Geillis Duncane, who used 
secretly to absent and lie forth of her master's house every 
other night. This Geillis Duncane took in hand to help all 
such as were troubled or grieved with any kind of sickness or 
infirmity, and in short space did perform many matters most 
miraculous; which things, for as much as she began to do 
them upon a sudden, having never done the like before, made 
her master and others to be in great admiration, and wondered 
thereat: by means whereof, the said David Seaton had his 

w. c 33 


maid in great suspicion that she did not those things by 
natural and lawful ways, but rather supposed it to be done 
by some extraordinary and unlawful means. Whereupon, her 
master began to grow very inquisitive, and examined her 
which way and by what means she was able to perform 
matters of so great importance; whereat she gave him no 
answer. Nevertheless, her master, to the intent that he might 
the better try and find out the truth of the same, did with the 
help of others torment her with the torture of the pilliwinks upon 
her fingers, which is a grievous torture ; and binding or wrenching 
her head with a cord or rope, which is a most cruel torment also ; 
yet would she not confess anything; whereupon, they suspecting 
that she had been marked by the devil, (as commonly witches 
are,) made diligent search about her, and found the enemy's 
mark to be in her fore crag, or fore part of her throat; which 
being found, she confessed that all her doings were done by the 
wicked allurements and enticements of the devil, and that she 
did them by witchcraft. After this her confession, she was com- 
mitted to prison, where she continued a season, where immedi- 
ately she accused these persons following to be notorious 
witches, and caused them forthwith to be apprehended, one 
after another, viz. Agnes Sampson, the eldest witch of them 
all, dwelling in Haddington; Agnes Tompson of Edinburgh; 
Doctor Fian alias John Cuningham, master of the school at 
Saltpans in Lothian.... 

The said Agnes Sampson was after brought again before the 
King's Majesty and his Council, and being examined of the 
meetings and detestable dealings of those witches, she confessed, 
that upon the night of All-hallow Even last, she was accom- 
panied, as well with the persons aforesaid, as also with a great 
many other witches, to the number of two hundred, and that 
all they together went to sea, each one in a riddle or sieve, and 
went into the same very substantially, with flagons of wine, 
making merry and drinking by the way in the same riddles or 
sieves, to the kirk of North Berwick in Lothian ; and that after 
they had landed, took hands on the land, and danced this reel 
or short dance, singing all with one voice, 

Commer go ye before, commer go ye, 
Gif ye will not go before, commer let me. 
At which time she confessed, that this Geillis Duncane did go 



before them, playing this reel or dance, upon a small trump, 
called a Jew's trump, until they entered into the kirk of North 

These confessions made the King in a wonderful admiration, 
and he sent for the said Geillis Duncane, who upon the like 
trump did play the said dance before the King's Majesty, who 
in respect of the strangeness of these matters, took great delight 
to be present at their examinations. 

The said Agnes Sampson confessed that the devil, being 
then at North Berwick kirk attending their coming, in the 
habit or likeness of a man, and seeing that they tarried over 
long, he at their coming enjoined them all to a penance, which 
was, that they should kiss his buttocks, in sign of duty to him; 
which being put over the pulpit bare, everyone did as he had 
enjoined them. And having made his ungodly exhortations, 
wherein he did greatly inveigh against the King of Scotland, 
he received their oaths for their good and true service towards 
him, and departed; which done, they returned to sea, and so 
home again. At which time, the witches demanded of the 
devil, *Why he did bear such hatred to the King?' Who 
answered, 'By reason the King is the greatest enemy he hath 
in the world.' All which their confessions and depositions 
are still extant upon record. 

The said Agnes Sampson confessed before the King's 
Majesty sundry things, which were so miraculous and strange, 
as that his Majesty said 'they were all extreme liars'; whereat 
she answered, 'she would not wish his Majesty to suppose her 
words to be false, but rather to believe them, in that she would 
discover such matter unto him as his Majesty should not any- 
way doubt of.' And thereupon taking his Majesty a little 
aside, she declared unto him the very words which passed 
between the King's Majesty and his Queen at Upslo in 
Norway, the first night of marriage, with the answer each to 
other; whereat the King's Majesty wondered greatly, and 
swore 'by the living God, that he believed all the devils in 
hell could not have discovered the same,' acknowledging her 
words to be most true ; and therefore gave the more credit to 
the rest that is before declared. 

Touching this Agnes Sampson, she is the only woman 
who, by the devil's persuasion, should have intended and put 

C2 35 


in execution the King's Majesty's death in this manner. She 
confessed that she took a black toad, and did hang the same up 
by the heels three days, and collected and gathered the venom as 
it dropped and fell from it in an oyster shell, and kept the same 
venom close covered, until she should obtain any part or piece 
of foul linen cloth that had appertained to the King's Majesty, 
as shirt, handkercher, napkin or any other thing, vi^hich she 
practised to obtain by means of one John Kers, who being 
attendant in his Majesty's chamber, desired him for old ac- 
quaintance between them, to help her to one, or a piece of such 
a cloth as is aforesaid ; which thing the said John Kers denied 
to help her to saying he could not help her unto it. And the 
said Agnes Sampson, by her depositions since her apprehen- 
sion, saith, that if she had obtained any one piece of linen 
cloth which the King had worn and fouled, she had bewitched 
him to death, and put him to such extraordinary pains, as if he 
had been lying upon sharp thorns and ends of needles. More- 
over she confessed, that at the time when his Majesty was in 
Denmark, she being accompanied by the parties before specially 
named, took a cat and christened it, and afterward bound to 
each part of that cat, the chiefest part of a dead man, and several 
joints of his body: and that in the night following, the said 
cat was conveyed into the midst of the sea by all these 
witches, sailing in their riddles or sieves, as is aforesaid, and so 
left the said cat right before the town of Leith in Scotland. 
This done, there did arise such a tempest in the sea, as a greater 
hath not been seen; which tempest was the cause of the 
perishing of a boat or vessel coming from the town of Brunt 
Island to the town of Leith, wherein was sundry jewels and 
rich gifts, which should have been presented to the now Queen of 
Scotland, at her Majesty's coming to Leith. Again, it is con- 
fessed, that the said christened cat was the cause that the King's 
Majesty's ship, at his coming forth of Denmark, had a contrary 
wind to the rest of his ships then being in his company ; which 
thing was most strange and true, as the King's Majesty acknow- 
ledgeth, for when the rest of the ships had a fair and good 
wind, then was the wind contrary and altogether against his 
Majesty; and further, the said witch declared, that his Majesty 
had never come safely from the sea, if his faith had not pre- 
vailed above their mtentions. 
_^ Nrwes Jro7n Scotland 159 1 


The Witches' Cauldron 

Double, double toil and trouble ; 
Fire burn and cauldron bubble. 

Macbethy IV. i. lo — ii 

Then he (the Devil) teacheth them to make ointments of 
the bowels and members of children, whereby they ride in the 
air, and accomplish all their desires. So as, if there be any 
children unbaptised, or not guarded with the sign of the cross, 
or orisons; then the witches may and do catch them from their 
mothers' sides in the night, or out of their cradles, or otherwise 
kill them with their ceremonies; and after burial steal them 
out of their graves, and seethe them in a cauldron, until their 
flesh be made potable. Of the thickest whereof they make 
ointments, whereby they ride in the air; but the thinner potion 
they put into flagons, whereof whosoever drinketh, observing 
certain ceremonies, immediately becometh a master or rather a 
mistress in that practice and faculty — 

It shall not be amiss here in this place to repeat an ointment 

greatly to this purpose The receipt is as followeth. R. The 

fat of young children, and seethe it with water in a brazen 
vessel, reserving the thickest of that which remaineth boiled 
in the bottom, which they lay up and keep, until occasion 
serveth to use it. They put hereunto eleoselinuniy aconitum^ 
frondei populeas, and soot. Another receipt to the same 
purpose. R. Sium, acarum vulgar e^ pentaphylkn^ the blood of 
a flitter-mousc, solarium somniferum^ et oleum. They stamp all 
these together, and then they rub all parts of their bodies 
exceedingly, till they look red, and be very hot, so as the pores 
may be opened, and their flesh soluble and loose. They join 
herewithal either fat, or oil instead thereof, that the force of 
the ointment may the rather pierce inwardly, and so be 
more effectual. By this means in a moonlight night they 
seem to be carried in the air, to feasting, singing, dancing, 
kissing, culling, and other acts of venery, with such youths 
as they love and desire most : for the force of their imag- 
ination is so vehement, that almost all that part of the brain, 
wherein the memory consisteth, is full of such conceits. 



And whereas they are naturally prone to believe any thing ; so 
do they receive such impressions and steadfast imaginations into 
their minds, as even their spirits are altered thereby ; not 
thinking upon any thing else, either by day or by night. And 
this helpeth them forward in their imaginations, that their usual 
food is none other commonly but beets, roots, nuts, beans, 
peas, &c. 

Keginald Scot, The DUcwerie of Wiuhcrafi 1584 


Snout. O Bottom, thou art changed ! what do I see on thee ? 
Bottom. What do you see ? you see an ass-head of your own, do you ? 
Quince. Bless thee, Bottom ! bless thee ! thou art translated. 

A Midsummer Nighfs Dream, ill. i. 120 — 125 

It happened in the city of Salamin, in the kingdom of 
Cyprus (wherein is a good haven) that a ship loaden with 
merchandize stayed there for a short space. In the mean time 
many of the soldiers and mariners went to shore, to provide 
fresh victuals. Among which number, a certain Englishman, 
being a sturdy young fellow, went to a woman's house, a little 
way out of the city, and not far from the sea side, to see 
whether she had any eggs to sell. Who perceiving him to be a 
lusty young fellow, a stranger, and far from his country (so as 
upon the loss of him there would be the less miss or inquiry) she 
considered with herself how to destroy him ; and willed him to 
stay there awhile, whilst she went to fetch a few eggs for him. 
But she tarried long, so as the young man called unto her, 
desiring her to make haste : for he told her that the tide would 
be spent, and by that means his ship would be gone, and leave 
him behind. Howbeit, after some detracting of time, she 
brought him a few eggs, willing him to return to her, if his 
ship were gone when he came. The young fellow returned 
towards his ship : but before he went aboard, he would needs 
eat an egg or twain to satisfy his hunger, and within short space 
he became dumb and out of his wits (as he afterwards said). 
When he would have entered into the ship, the mariners beat 
him back with a cudgel, saying : "What a murrain lacks the 
ass? Whither the devil will this ass?" The ass or young man 
(I cannot tell by which name I should term him) being many 



times repelled, and understanding their words that called him 
ass, considering that he could speak never a word, and yet could 
understand every body ; he thought that he was bewitched by 
the woman, at whose house he was. And therefore, when by 
no means he could get into the boat, but was driven to tarry 
and see her departure, being also beaten from place to place as 
an ass, he remembered the witch's words, and the words of his 
own fellows that called him ass, and returned to the witch's 
house, in whose service he remained by the space of three years, 
doing nothing with his hands all that while, but carried such 
burdens as she laid on his back j having only this comfort, that 
although he were reputed an ass among strangers and beasts, 
yet that both this witch, and all other witches knew him to be 
a man. 

After three years were passed over, in a morning betimes he 
went to town before his dame, who upon some occasion (of like 
to make water) stayed a little behind. In the mean time being 
near to a church, he heard a little sacring bell ring to the eleva- 
tion of a morrow mass, and not daring to go into the church, 
lest he should have been beaten and driven out with cudgels, 
in great devotion he fell down in the churchyard upon the 
knees of his hinder legs, and did lift his forefeet over his head, 
as the priest doth hold the sacrament at the elevation. Which 
prodigious sight when certain merchants of Genoa espied and 
with wonder beheld, anon cometh the witch with a cudgel in 
her hand, beating forth the ass. And because (as it hath been 
said) such kinds of witchcrafts are very usual in those parts, the 
merchants aforesaid made such means, as both the ass and the 
witch were attached by the judge. And she being examined 
and set upon the rack, confessed the whole matter, and promised, 
that if she might have liberty to go home, she would restore him 
to his old shape : and being dismissed, she did accordingly. 
So as notwithstanding, they apprehended again, and burned her: 
and the young man returned into his country with a joyful and 
merry heart. 

Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft 1584 



§ 4. Fairy-land 

But we are spirits of another sort. 

A Midsummer Nighfs Dream, in. ii. 388 

Either I mistake your shape and making quite 
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite 
Call'd Robin Goodfellow : are you not he 
That frights the maidens of the villagery ; 
Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern 
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn ; 
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm ; 
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm ? 
Those that Hobgoblin call you and sweet Puck, 
You do their work, and they shall have good luck : 
Are not you he? ibid. 11. i. 32 — 42 

[The little book from which the following extracts are taken, has 
been described as the most valuable and important contemporary illustra- 
tion of A Midsummer Nighfs Dream, Though the first edition extant 
is dated 1628, it was probably written far earlier, and Shakespeare's 
masterpiece may owe something to it.] 

Ho^ King Oberon catted Robin Good-fettom) io dance 

King Oberon, seeing Robin Good-fellow do so many honest 
and merry tricks, called him one night out of his bed with these 
words, saying : 

Robirij my son, come quickly rise: 

First stretchy then yanvn, and rub your eyes; 

For thou must go <voith me to-night. 

To see, and taste of my delight. 

Quickly come, my ivanton son; 

*Tivere time our sports njoere nonv begun. 

Robin, hearing this, rose and went to him. There were 
with King Oberon a many fairies, a ll attired in green silk : all 
these, with King Oberon, did welcome Robin Cjood-tellow into 
their company. Oberon took Robin by the hand and led him 
a dance. Their musician was little Tom Thumb, for he had 
an excellent bag-pipe m ade of a wren's quill and the skin of a 
Greenland luuse. T. his pipe was so shrill, and so sweet, that a 
Scottish pipe, compared to it, it would no more come near it, 
than a Jew's-trump doth to an Irish harp. After they had 



danced, King Oberon spake to his son, Robin Good-fellow, in 
this manner : 

Whenever thou hear my piper bloiv. 

From thy bed see that thou go; 

For nightly you must <with us dance. 

When ive in circles round do prance, 

I lo=ve thee, son^ and by the hand 

I carry thee to Fairy Land, 

Where thou shalt see ivhat no man kno<wss 

Such Icnje to thee King Oberon onves. 

So marched they in good manner, with their piper before, 
to the Fairy Land : there did King Oberon shew Robin 
Good-fellow many secrets, which he never did open to the 


How the fairies called Robin Good-fellow to dance <wHh them, 
and how they shewed to him their several conditions 

Come unto these yellow sands, 

And then take hands : 
Curtsied when you have, and kiss'd, — 

The wild waves whist, — 
Foot it featly here and there ; 
And, sweet sprites, the burden bear. 

The Tempesty i. ii. 375 — 380 

Robin Good -fellow, being walking one night, heard the 
excellent music of Tom Thumb's brave bag-pipe : he, re- 
membering the sound, according to the command of King 
Oberon went toward them. They, for joy that he was come, 
did circle him in, and in a ring did dance round about him. 
Robin Good-fellow, seeing their love to him, danced in the 
midst of them, and sung them this song to the tune of To him 

Round aboufy little ones, quick, quick and nimble. 
In and out, awheel about, run, hop, or amble. 
Join your hands lo-vijigly .• <well done musician I 
Mirth keepeth man in health like a phisician, 
El'ves, urchins, goblins all, and little fairies 
That do filch, black, and pinch maids of the dairies; 
Make a ring on the grass ijoith your quick measures^ 
Tom shall play, and I'll sing for all your pleasures. 


Phich and Patchy Gull and Grifftf 

Go you together^ 
for you can change your shapes 

Like to the iv eat her. 
Sib and Tib, Lick and Lull, 

You all hanje tricks, too; 
Little Tom Thumb that pipes 

Shall go betnvixt you. 
Tom, tickle up thy pipes 

Till they be nueary: 
I ivill laugh, ho, ho, hohl 

And make me merry. 
Make a ring on this grass 

With your quick measures: 
Tom shall play, I ivill sing 

For all your pleasures. 

The moon shines fair and bright. 

And the oivl holloas, 
Mortals noio take their rests 

Upon their pilloivs: 
The bats abroad likenvise. 

And the night ra'ven. 
Which doth use for to call 

Men to Death's hwven. 
Nonju the mice peep abroad. 

And the cats take them. 
Now do young <wenches sleep, 

Till their dreams ivake them. 
Make a ring on the grass 

With your quick measures: 
Tom shall play, I ivill sing 

For all your pleasures. 

Thus danced they a good space. At last they left and sat 
down upon the grass, and to requite Robin Good-fellow's 
kindness, they promised to tell to him all the exploits that they 
were accustomed to do : Robin thanked them and listened to 
them, and one begun to tell his tricks in this manner. 



The tricks of the fsLtf^ called Pinch 

Pinch him, fairies, mutually ; 

Pinch him for his villany; 

Pinch him, and burn him and turn him about. 

Till candles and starlight and moonshine be out. 

The Merry fVives of Windsor, v. v. 105 — 108 

I am sent with broom before, 

To sweep the dust behind the door. 

A Midsummer Nighfs Dream, v. ii. 19 — 20 

After that we have danced in this manner as you have 
beheld, I, that am called Pinch, do go about from house to 
house. Sometimes I find the doors of the house open. That 
negligent servant that left them so, I do so nip him or her, 
that with my pinches their bodies are as many colours as a 
mackerel's back. Then take I them, and lay them in the 
door, naked or unnaked I care not whether: there they lie, 
many times till broad day, ere they waken ; and many times, 
against their wills, they shew some parts about them, that they 
would not have openly seen. 

Sometimes I find a slut sleeping in the chimney corner, 
when she should be washing of her dishes, or doing something 
else which she hath left undone : her I pinch about the arms, 
for not laying her arms to her labour. Some I find in their bed 
snorting and sleeping, and their houses lying as clean as a nasty 
dog's kennel ; in one corner bones, in another egg-shells, behind 
the door a heap of dust, the dishes under feet, and the cat in 
the cupboard: all these sluttish tricks I do reward with blue 
legs, and blue arms. I find some slovens too, as well as sluts : 
they pay for their beastliness too, as well as the women-kind; 
for if they uncase a sloven and not untie their points, I so pay 
their arms that they cannot sometimes untie them, if they 
would. Those that leave foul shoes, or go into their beds 
with their stockings on, I use them as I did the former, and 
never leave them till they have left their beastliness. 

But to the good I do no hartn, 

But cover them, and keep them 'warm: 

Sluts and slovens 1 do pinch. 

And make them in their beds to ^wince. 

This is my practice, and my trade. 

Many hanjt 1 cleanly made. 



The iricks of the faiv^ called Gull 

She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes 
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone 
On the fore-finger of an alderman, 
Drawn with a team of little atomies 
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep. 

Komeo and Juliet^ i. iv. 55 — 59 

She as her attendant hath 
A lovely boy, stol'n from an Indian king ; 
She never had so sweet a changeling. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream^ 11. i. 21 — 23 

When mortals keep their beds I walk abroad, and for my 
pranks am called by the name of Gull. I with a feigned voice 
do often deceive many men, to their great amazement. Many 
times I get on men and women, and so lie on their stomachs, 
that I cause them great pain, for which they call me by the 
name of Hag, or Night-mare. 'Tis I that do steal children, 
and in the place of them leave changelings. Sometimes I also 
steal milk and cream, and then with my brothers Patch, Pinch, 
and Grim, and sisters Sib, Tib, Lick, and Lull, I feast with my 
stolen goods. Our little piper hath his share in all our spoils, but 
he nor our women fairies do ever put themselves in danger to 
do any great exploit. 

What Gull can do, I ha've you shoivn / 
/ am inferior unto none. 
Command me, Robin, thou shalt kno^w^ 
That I for thee ^uoill ride or go : 
J can do greater things than these 
Upon the land, and on the seas. 



The {rkks of the^ called Grim 

I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round, 

Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier: 

Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound, 

A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire ; 

And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn, 

Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn. 

A Midsummer Ntghfs Dreaniy in. i. 112 — 117 

Where the bee sucks, there suck I : 

In a cowslip's bell I lie ; 

There I couch when owls do cry. 

On the bat's back do I fly 

After summer merrily : 
Merrily, merrily shall I live now 
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough. 

The Tempesty v. i. 88 — 94 

I walk with the owl, and make many to cry as loud as she 
doth holloa. Sometimes I do affright many simple people, for 
which some have termed me the Black Dog of Newgate. At 
the meeting of young men and maids I many times am, and 
when they are in the midst of all their good cheer, I come in, 
in some fearful shape, and affright them, and then carry away 
their good cheer, and eat it with my fellow fairies. 'Tis I that 
do, like a screech-owl, cry at sick men's windows, which makes 
the hearers so fearful, that they say, that the sick person cannot 
live. Many other ways have I to fright the simple, but the 
understanding man I cannot move to fear, because he knows 
I have no power to do hurt. 

My nig?itly business I have told^ 
To play these tricks I use of old: 
When candles burn both blue and dipt. 
Old folks ijuill sayy Here's fairy Grim. 
More tricks than these I use to do: 
Hereat crfd Robin, Ho, ho, hohl 

Robin Good-felloiv i his mad prankes and merry jests i6z8 



§ 5. Astrology 

Soothsayer. Beware the ides of March. 

Caesar. He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass. 

Julius Caesar^ i. ii. 23 — 24 

Edgar. How now, brother Edmund ! What serious contemplation 
are you in ? 

Edmund. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other 
day, what should follow these eclipses. 

Edgar. Do you busy yourself with that ? 

Edmund. I promise you the effects he writes of succeed unhappily ; 
as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent ; death, dearth, 
dissolutions of ancient amities ; divisions in state ; menaces and maledic- 
tions against king and nobles ; needless diffidences, banishment of friends, 
dissipation of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what. 

Edgar, How long have you been a sectary astronomical .? 

King Lear, i. ii. 155 — 170 

A Mock PrognosUcdion 

The eclipse of the sun according to Proclus' opinion is 
like to produce many hot and pestilent infirmities, especially 
amongst summoners and pettifoggers, whose faces being combust 
with many fiery inflamatives shall show ye dearth that by 
their devout drinking is like to ensue of barley, if violent 

death take not away such consuming maltworms And Mars 

being placed near unto the sun sheweth that there shall be 
a great death among people. Old women that can live no 
longer shall die for age : and young men that have usurers to 
their father shall this year have great cause to laugh, for the 
devil hath made a decree, that after they are once in hell, they 
shall never rise again to trouble their executors. Beside that by 
all conjectural arguments the influence of Mars shall be so 
violent, that divers soldiers in parts beyond the seas, shall fall 
out for want of their pay, and here in our meridional clime, 
great quarrels shall be raised between man and man, especially 
in cases of law. Gentry shall go check-mate with justice, and 
coin out countenance ofttimes equity*. The poor sitting on 
penniless bench, shall sell their coats to strive for a straw, and 

* See Glossary under "Checkmate." 


lawyers laugh such fools to scorn as cannot keep their crowns 
in their purses.... 

It is further to be feared, that because the eclipse happeneth 
in July, there will through the extreme heat grow such abundance 
of fleas, that women shall not go to bed before twelve o'clock 
at night, for the great murders and stratagems they are like to 
commit upon those little animals. 

And whereas this eclipse falleth out at three of the clock 
in the afternoon, it foresheweth that many shall go soberer into 
taverns than they shall come out: and that he which drinks 
hard and lies cold, shall never die of the sweat; although 
Gemini, combust and retrograde, sheweth that some shall have 
so sore a sweating, that they may sell their hair by the pound 
to stuff tennis balls. But if the beadles of Bridewell be careful 
this summer, it may be hoped that Petticoat Lane may be less 
pestered with ill airs than it was wont : and the houses there so 
clear cleansed, that honest women may dwell there without any 
dread of the whip and the cart.... 

But here by the way, gentle reader, note that this eclipse 
sheweth that this year shall be some strange births of children 
produced in some monstrous form, to the great grief of the 
parents, and fearful spectacle of the beholders: but because 
the eclipse chanceth southerly, it is little to be feared that the 
effects shall fall in England : yet somewhat it is to be doubted, 
that divers children shall be born, that when they come to age 
shall not know their own fathers. Some shall be born with 
feet like unto hares, that they shall run so swift, that they shall 
never tarry with master, but trudge from post to pillar, till they 
take up Beggars' Bush for their lodging. Others shall have noses 
like swine, that there shall not be a feast within a mile, but they 
shall smell it out. But especially it is to be doubted, that divers 
women this year shall be born with two tongues, to the terrible 
grief of such as shall marry them, uttering in their fury such 
rough-cast eloquence, that * knave' and 'slave' shall be but 
holiday words to their husbands. And whereas this fearful 
eclipse doth continue but an hour and a half, it signifieth that 
this year women's love to their husbands shall be very short, 
sometimes so momentary, that it shall scarce continue from the 
church door to the wedding house: and that hens, capons, 
geese, and other puUin shall little haunt poor men's tables, but 



fly away with spits in their bellies to fat churls' houses, that 
pamper themselves up with delicates and dainties. Although 
very few other effects are to be prognosticated, yet let me give 
this caveat to my countrymen, as a clause to this wonderful 
eclipse. Let such as have clothes enow, keep themselves warm 
from taking cold : and I would wish rich men all this winter 
to sit by a good fire, and hardly to go to bed without a cup of 
sack, and that so qualified with sugar, that they prove not 
rheumatic : let them feed daintily and take ease enough, and no 
doubt according to the judgment of Albumazar, they are like 
to live as long as they can, and not to die one hour before their 

Thomas Nashe? A nuonderful astrological prognostication 1591 



At first the infant, 
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms. 
And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel 
And shining morning face, creeping like snail 
Unwillingly to school. 

As You Like It, ii. vii. 143 — 147 

§ I. Child and parent 

Two 'vie<ws of childhood 
(a) A humourisi's 
A child is a man in a small letter, yet the best copy of Adam 
before he tasted of Eve or the apple; and he is happy, whose 
small practice in the world can only write his character. He 
is nature's fresh picture newly drawn in oil, which time and 
much handling dims and defaces. His soul is yet a white paper 
unscribbled with observations of the world, wherewith at length 
it becomes a blurred note-book. He is purely happy because 
he knows no evil, nor hath made means by sin to be acquainted 
with misery. He arrives not at the mischief of being wise, nor 
endures evils to come by foreseeing them. He kisses and loves 
all, and when the smart of the rod is past, smiles on his beater. 
Nature and his parents alike dandle him, and tice him on with 
a bait of sugar to a draught 9^ worm-wood. He plays yet, like 
a young prentice the first day, and is not come to his task of 
melancholy. All the language he speaks yet is tears, and they 
serve him well enough to express his necessity. His hardest 
labour is his tongue, as if he were loth to use so deceitful an 
organ; and he is best company with it when he can but 
prattle. We laugh at his foolish sports, but his game is our 
earnest: and his drums, rattles, and hobby-horses but the 
emblems and mocking of men's business. His father hath 

w. D 49 


writ him as his own little story, wherein he reads those days of 
his life that he cannot remember; and sighs to see what 
innocence he has out-lived. The elder he grows, he is a stair 
lower from God, and like his first father much worse in his 
breeches. He is the Christian's example, and the old man's 
relapse. The one imitates his pureness, and the other falls into 
his simplicity. Could he put off his body with his little coat, 
he had got eternity without a burden, and exchanged but one 
heaven for another. 

John Earle, Mtcro-cosmographie 1628 

{b) A puritan^s 
Meditations of the misery of infancy 
What wast thou being an infant but a brute, having the 
shape of a man ? Was not thy body conceived in the heat of 
lust, the secret of shame, and stain of original sin ? And thus 
wast thou cast naked upon the earth, all imbrued in the blood 
of filthiness, (filthy indeed when the Son of God, who disdained 
not to take on him man's nature and the infirmities thereof, 
yet thought it unbeseeming his Holiness to be conceived after 
the sinful manner of man's conception): so that thy mother 
was ashamed to let thee know the manner thereof. What 
cause then hast thou to boast of thy birth, which was a cursed 
pain to thy mother, and to thyself the entrance into a trouble- 
some life ? The greatness of which miseries, because thou 
couldest not utter in words, thou diddest express (as well as thou 
couldest) in weeping tears. 

Meditations of the miseries of youth 
What is youth, but an untamed beast ? All whose actions 
are rash, and rude, not capable of good counsel when it is 
given; and ape-like, delighting in nothing but in toys and 
baubles? Therefore thou no sooner begannest to have a little 
strength and discretion, but forthwith thou wast kept under the 
rod and fear of parents and masters : as if thou hadst been born 
to live under the discipline of others, rather than at the dis- 
position of thine own will. No tired horse was ever more 
willing to be rid of his burden, than thou wast to get out of 
the servile state of this bondage — ^a state not worth the 

Lewes Bayly, Practice of Pietie \6\z 


Of parents and children 

The joys of parents are secret, and so are their griefs and 
fears. They cannot utter the one, nor they will not utter the 
other. Children sweeten labours, but they make misfortunes 
more bitter. They increase the cares of life, but they mitigate 
the remembrance of death. The perpetuity by generation is 
common to beasts, but memory, merit and noMc , "wyJC^s are 
proper to men ; and surely a man shall see thqrnoblesyworks 
and foundations have proceeded from childless mchy-w4it6n have 
sought to express the images of their minds, w^hen those of 
their body have failed. So the care of posterity is most in them 
that have no posterity. They that are the first raisers of their 
houses are most indulgent towards their children; beholding 
them as the continuance, not only of their kind, but of their 
work; and so both children and creatures. 

The difference in affection of parents towards their several 
children is many times unequal, and sometimes unworthy, 
especially in the mother; as Solomon saith, *A wise son 
rejoiceth the father, but an ungracious son shames the mother.' 
A man shall see, where there is a house full of children, one or 
two of the eldest respected and the youngest made wantons ; but, 
in the middest, some there are, as it were forgotten, who many 
times nevertheless prove the best. The illiberality of parents, 
in allowance towards their children, is an harmful error, makes 
them base, acquaints them with shifts, makes them sort with 
mean company, and makes them surfeit more when they 
come to plenty. And therefore the proof is best, where men 
keep their authority towards their children, but not their 
purse. Men have a foolish manner (both parents, and school- 
masters, and servants) in creating and breeding an emulation 
between brothers during childhood which many times sorteth 
to discord when they are men, and disturbeth families. The 
Italians make little difference between children and nephews or 
near kinsfolks. But, so they be of the lump, they care not 
though they pass not through their own body. And to say 
truth, in Nature it is much a like matter. In so much that we 
see a nephew sometimes resembleth an uncle, or a kinsman, 
more than his own parent, as the blood happens. 

Let parents choose betimes the vocations and courses they 
mean their children should take; for then they are most 

D2 51 


flexible. And let them not too much apply themselves to the 
disposition of their children, as thinking they will take best to 
that, which they have most mind to. It is true that if the 
affection or aptness of the children be extraordinary, then it is 
good not to cross it. But generally the precept is good : 
optimum elige, suave et facile illud faciei consuetudo. Younger 
brothers are commonly fortunate, but seldom or never where 
the elder are disinherited. 

Francis Bacon, Essays 1597 — 1625 

§ 2. The Grammar school 

Mrs Quickly. Mistress Ford desires you to come suddenly. 

Mrs Page. I'll be with her by and by: I'll but bring my young 
man here to school. Look, where his master comes ; 'tis playing-day, 
I see. How now. Sir Hugh ! no school to-day ? 

Evans. No ; Master Slender is get the boys leave to play 

Mrs Quick. Blessing of his heart ! 

Mrs Page. Sir Hugh, my husband says my son profits nothing in 
the world at his book: I pray you ask him some questions in his 

E'vans. Come hither, William ; hold up your head ; come. 

Mrs Page. Come on, sirrah j hold up your head ; answer your master, 
be not afraid. 

E'vans. William, how many numbers is in nouns ? 

William. Two. 
• •«•••• 

Evans. Show me now, William, some declensions of your pronouns. 

William. Forsooth, I have forgot. 

E'vans. It is qui^ quae^ quod j if you forget your quis^ your quaes^ and 
your quodSf you must be preeches. Go your ways and play ; go. 

Mrs Page. He is a better scholar than I thought he was. 

Evans. He is a good sprag memory. Farewell, Mistress Page. 
The Merry Wives of Windsor^ iv. i. 

An interesting parallel 

[Shakespeare was an exact contemporary of Willis. Like him, he is 
supposed to have received no education save that provided by a free 
grammar school. Like him, too, he found it quite sufficient for his 
needs in later life.] 

It was not my happiness to be bred up at the university, but 
all the learning I had was in the free grammar school, called 
Christ's school in the city of Gloucester; yet even there it 
pleased God to give me an extraordinary help by a new school- 



master brought thither, one Master Gregory Downhale of 
Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, after I had lost some time under 
his predecessor. This Master Downhale having very con- 
venient lodgings over the school, took such liking to me, as he 
made me his bedfellow (my father's house being next of all to 
the school). This bedfellowship begat in him familiarity and 
gentleness towards me ; and in me towards him reverence and 
love ; which made me also love my book, love being the most 
prevalent affection in nature to fiarther our studies and en- 
deavours in any profession. He came thither but bachelor of 
arts, a good scholar, and who wrote both the secretary and the 
Italian hands exquisitely well. But after a few years that he 
had proceeded master of arts, finding the school's entertain- 
ment not worthy of him, he left it, and betook himself to 
another course of being secretary to some nobleman, and at 
last became secretary to the worthy Lord Chancellor Ellesmere, 
and in that service (as I think) died. And myself, his scholar, 
following his steps, as near as I could, (though furnished with 
no more learning than he taught me in that grammar school) 
came at last to be secretary to the Lord Brooke, Chancellor of 
the Exchequer ; and after that to my much honoured Lord, the 
Earl of Middlesex, Lord high Treasurer of England ; and lastly 
to the most worthy, my most noble Lord, the Lord Coventry, 
Lord-keeper of the great seal, in whose service I expect to end 
my days. And this I note, that though I were no graduate of 
the university, yet (by God's blessing) I had so much learning 
as fitted me for the places whereunto the Lord advanced me, 
and (which I think to be very rare) had one that was after a 
Lord Chancellor's secretary to be my schoolmaster, whom (by 
God's blessing) I followed so close, that I became a successor to 
hissuccessors in the like place of eminent service and employment. 
R. Willis (b. 1564), Mount Tabor 1639 

The School Da^ 
Philoponus, The school-time should begin at six.... 
SpGudeus. Would you then have the master and usher 
present so early? 

Philoponus. The usher should necessarily be there to be 
present amongst them, though he follov/ his own private study 
that hour, yet to see that all the scholars do their duties 



appointed, and that there be no disorder: which will be, unless 
he or some other o f au thoritjr^be amongst them. For otherwise 
the best children, lett to their own liberty, will shew themselves 
children. If the master be present at seven it may suffice, where 
there is any in his place, whose presence they stand in awe of. 

Spoudeus, But it is hard for the little children to rise so 
early, and in some families all lie long: how would you have 
have them come so soon then? You would not have them 
beaten every time they come over-late, as the custom is in 
some schools. 

Philoponus, That I take far too great severity and whereby 
many a poor child is driven into wonderful fear, and either to 
play the truant, or make some device to leave the school; at 
least to come with a marvellous ill will, and oft to be dragged 
to school, to the reproach of the master and the school. The 
best means that ever I could find to make them to rise early, to 
prevent all this fear of whipping, is this: by letting the little 
ones to have their places in their forms dail^, according to their 
coming after six of the clock. So many as are there at six, to 
have their places as they had them by election on the day 
before. All who come after six, every one to sit as he cometh, 
and so to continue that day and until he recover his place again 
by the election of the form or otherwise. Thus deal with 
them at all times, after every intermission, when they are to be 
in their places again and you shall have them ever attending 
who to be first in his place. So greatly even children are pro- 
voked by the credit of their places. If any cannot be brought 
by this, then to be noted in the black bill by a special mark, 
and feel the punishment thereof: and sometimes present cor- 
rection to be used for terror ; though this (as I said) to be more 
seldom, for making them to fear coming to the school. 

The higher scholars must of necessity rest to do their 
exercises, if their exercises be strictly called for. Thus they are 
to continue until nine, signified by monitors, subdoctor, or other- 
wise. Then at nine I find that order which is in Westminster to 
be far the best ; to let them to have a quarter of an hour at least, 
or more for intermission, either for breakfast, for all who are 
near unto the school, that can be there within the time limited, 
or else for the necessity of everyone, or their honest recreation, 
or to prepare their exercises against the master's coming in. 



After, each of them to be in his place in an instant upon the 
knocking of the door or some other sign given by the subdoctor 
or monitors, in pain of loss of his place, or further punishment, 
as was noted before ; so to continue until eleven of the clock ; 
or somewhat after, to countervail the time of the intermission 
at nine. 

To be again all ready and in their places at one, in an 
instant ; to continue until three or half an hour after : then to 
have another quarter of an hour or more, as at nine, for drink- 
ing and necessities. So to continue till half an hour after five, 
thereby in that half hour to countervail the time at three. 
Then to end so as was showed, with reading a piece of a 
chapter and with singing two staves of a psalm: lastly with prayer 
to be used by the master. For the psalms, every scholar should 
begin to give the psalm and the time in order, and to read 
every verse before them; or every one to have his book (if it 
can be) and read it as they do sing it. Where anyone cannot 
begin the time, his next fellow beneath is to help him and take his 
place. By this they will all learn to give the tunes sweetly 
which is a thing very commendable; and also it will help 
reading, voice and audacity in the younger. 

Spoudeus. But these intermissions at nine and three may 
be offensive. They who know not the manner of them may 
reproach the school, thinking that they do nothing but play. 

Philoponus. We are, so much as may be, in all things to 
avoid offence. But when by long custom the order is once 
made known, it will be no more offensive than it is at West- 
minster, or than it is at noon and night ; so that it be done in 
a decent order. 

The benefits of such intermissions will be found very great 
and to prevent many inconveniences. 

1. By this means neither masters nor scholars shall be 
over-toiled, but have fit times of refreshing. For there is none 
(no not almost of the least) but being used to it a while, they 
will sit very well in their places for two hours together, or two 
hours and a half, without any weariness or necessity, observing 
duly those times. 

2. By this means also the scholars may be kept ever in their 
places, and hard to their labours, without that running out to 
the campo (as they term it) at school times, and the manifold 



disorders thereof; as watching and striving for the club and 
loitering then in the fields, some hindered that they cannot go 
forth at all. But hereby all may have their free liberty in due 
. time ; and none can abuse their liberty in that sort, nor have their 
minds drawn away, nor stir abroad all the day at school times, 
except upon some urgent necessity, to be signified to the master 
or usher ; and so leave to be gotten privately, to return presently 
again. And also in those cases to loose their places for that day, 
unless the case be approved very necessary and sure ; to the end 
to cut off occasions from such as will pretend necessities. If 
any one be catched abusing his master or his liberty, with- 
out necessity only, upon desire of idleness or play, he is to be 
corrected sharply for ensample. By this means you shall bring 
them to that order and obedience in a short time, as they will 
not think of stirring all the day, but at their times appointed, or 
upon very urgent and almost extraordinary necessity. 

3. Besides these benefits, this will also gain so much time 
every day, as is lost in those intermissions; because there is no 
day but they will all look for so much time or more to the 
campo : especially as the shrewdest boys, who use to wait for 
the club, and watch their times, these will be sure to have 
much more than that. Besides all the time which they lose in 
waiting for that idle fit and that, they will, if they can, be 
away at lectures, and shewing exercises: and likewise they will 
exceedingly trouble the master in asking three or four some- 
times together, what business soever he be about. 

Spoudeus. I have been well acquainted with these disorders 
of the campo, and vexed with them many a time. I shall be 
most glad, if I may thus reform them and find these benefits 
instead thereof. But what say you for their recreations? Let 
me also hear your judgment in them : for I see that you would 
have in like manner a special regard to be kept thereof. 

Philoponus, I would indeed have their recreations as weW 
looked unto, as their learning; as you may perceive plainly by 
their intermissions at nine and at three. Besides those and all 
other their intermissions, it is very requisite also, that they 
should have weekly one part of an afternoon for recreation, as 
a reward of their diligence, obedience and profiting: and that 
to be appointed at the master's discretion, either the Thursday 
after the usual custom, or according to the best opportunity of 



the place. That also to be procured by some verses made by 
the victors, as viras shewed : and then only vi^hen there hath 
been already no play-day in the week before nor holy day in all 
the week... 

All recreations and sports of scholars would be meet for 
gentlemen. Clownish sports, or perilous, or yet playing for 
money are no way to be admitted. The recreations of the 
studious are as well to be looked unto, as the study of the rest : 
that none take hurt by his study, either for mind or body, or 
any way else. 

Yet here of the other side, very great care is to be had in 
the moderating of their recreation. For schools, generally, do 
not take more hindrance by any one thing, than by over-often 
leave to play. Experience teacheth, that this draweth their 
minds utterly away from their books, that they cannot take 
pains, for longing after play and talking of it; as also devising 
means to procure others to get leave to play: so that ordinarily 
when they are but in hope thereof, they will do things very 
negligently ; and after the most play they are evermore far the 

John Brinsley, Ludus Literarius or the Grammar Schoole 1612 

Philoponus, For inflicting punishments we ought to come 
thereunto unwillingly, and even enforced; and therefore to 
proceed by degrees: that who cannot be moved by any of the 
former means of preferments nor encouragements nor any 
gentle exhortation nor admonition, may be brought into order 
and obedience by punishment. And therefore, first to begin 
with the lesser kinds of punishments; and so by degrees to the 
highest and severest, after this manner observing carefully the 
natures of everyone, as was said : 

1. To use reproofs; and those sometimes more sharp 
according to the nature of the offender and his fault. 

2. To punish by loss of place to him who doth better 
according to our discretion. 

3. To punish by a note, which may be called the black 
bill. This I would have the principal punishment, I mean 
most of use. For you shall find by experience, that it being 
rightly used, it is more available than all other, to keep all in 



obedience; and specially for any notoriously idle or stubborn, 
or which are of evil behaviour any way. The manner of it may 
be thus. To keep a note in writing, or, which may more easily 
be done, to keep a remembrance of all whom you observe very 
negligent, stubborn, lewd, or any way disobedient, to restrain 
them from all liberty of play. And therefore to give them all 
to know so much beforehand, that whosoever asketh leave to 
play, or upon what occasion soever, yet we intend always to 
except all such ; and that liberty is granted only for the painful 
and obedient which are worthy to have the privileges of 
scholars and of the school, because they are such, and are an 
ornament to the school: not for them who are a disgrace 
unto it. 

So always at such playing times before the exeats, the 
master and ushers to view every form through; and then to 
cause them all to sit still whom they remember to have been 
negligent or faulty in any special sort worthy of punishment, 
and to do some exercises in writing besides; either those which 
they have omitted before or such as wherein they cannot be 
idle. But herein there must be a special care when they are 
thus restrained from play, that either master or usher, if it can 
be conveniently, have an eye to them, that they cannot loiter; 
or some one specially appointed, to see that they do their tasks. 
Also that they be called to an account the next morning whether 
they have done the tasks enjoined, under pain of six jerks to be 
surely paid. 

Moreover for all those who are notoriously stubborn or 
negligent or have done any gross fault, to cause them to sit 
thus, not only one day but every play-day continually, until 
they shew themselves truly sorry for their faults, and to amend; 
becoming as dutiful and submiss as any other ; and until they 
do declare by good signs their desire and purpose to please 
and obey their master ; unless they be released at very great 
suit or upon sufficient sureties of their fellows to incur other- 
wise their penalty if they amend not. This course straitly 
observed, partly through the shame of being noted in the rank 
of disordered fellows and also lest their parents should know it ; 
and partly through depriving them of play and more also 
through this strict account to be given of their tasks, and 
severity of correction otherwise, will more tame the stubbornest 



and proudest, through God's blessing, than any correction by 
rod : and this without danger to the scholar, or oflence to their 
friends. And therefore, when rod and all other means fail, let 
us look carefully to this, not to leave one stubborn boy, until he 
be brought as submiss and dutiful as any of the rest. For, 
those being brought into obedience, the rest may easily be kept 
in order, with very little correction: whereas one stubborn boy 
suffered will spoil, or at leastwise endanger all the rest. 

4. Sometimes in greater faults, to give three or four jerks 
with_a birch, or with a small red willow where ^jrch cannot be 
had. Or for terror in some notorious fault, hal f a dozenjtri^es 
q T more, s o undly lai<i -xm,> according to the discretion of the 
master. Some do only keep a bill, and note carefully their 
several principal disorders; and now and then, shew them their 
names and faults mildly, how oft they have been admonished, 
and when they take them in hand pay them soundly and by 
this policy keep them in great obedience. 

In this correction with the rod, special provision must be 
had for sundry things. 

I. That when you are to correct any stubborn or unbroken 
boy, you may be sure with him to hold him fast ; as they are 
enforced to do, who are to shoe or to tame an unbroken colt. 
To this end appoint three or four of your scholars, whom you 
know to be honest, and strong enough, or more if need be, to 
lay hands upon him together, to hold him fast^ over some form^ 
so that h ^ cannot stir hand nor foot; o r else if no other remedy 
will serve, to hold him to some post (which is far the safest and 
free from inconvenience) so as he cannot anyway hurt himself 
or others, be he never so peevish. Neither that he can have 
hope by any device or turning, or by his apparel, or any other 
means to escape. Nor yet that any one be left in his stubborn- 
•ness to go away murmuring, pouting, or blowing and puffing, 
until he shew as much submission as any, and that he will lie 
still of himself without any holding; yet so as ever a wise 
moderation be kept. Although this must of necessity be looked 
unto; because besides the evil example to others, there is no 
hope to do any good to count of with any, till their stomachs 
be first broken : and then they once thoroughly brought under, 
you may have great hope to work all good according to their 



capacity; so that it may be, you shall have little occasion to 
correct them after. Moreover every child suffered in his 
stubbornness to escape for his struggling, will in a short time 
come to trouble two or three men to take him up and to correct 
him without danger of hurting himself, or others. 

II. To be wary for smiting them over the backs, in any 
case, or in such sort as in any way to hurt or endanger them. 
To the end to prevent all mischiefs, for our own comfort ; and 
to cut off all occasions from quarrelling parents or evil reports of 
the school. And withal, to avoid for these causes, all smiting 
them upon the head, with hand, rod or ferula. Also to the end 
that we may avoid all danger and fear for desperate boys hurt- 
ing themselves, not to use to threaten them afore, and when 
they have done any notorious fault, nor to let them know when 
they shall be beaten ; but when they commit a new fault, or 
that we see the school most full or opportunity most fit, to 
take them of a sudden, 

III. That the master^ do not in any case abase himself to 
strive or struggle with any boy to take him up : but to appoint 
other of the strongest to do it, where such need is, in such sort 
as was shewed before ; and the rather for fear of hurting them 
in his anger, and for the evils which may come thereof and 
which some schoolmasters have lamented after. 

IV. That the masters and ushers also do by all means 
avoid all furious anger, threatening, chasing, fretting, reviling : 
for these things will diminish authority and may do much hurt, 
and much endanger many ways. And therefore on the con- 
trary, that all their correction be done with authority, and with 
a wise and sober moderation, in a demonstration of duty to 
God and love to the children, for their amendment, and the 
reformation of their evil manners. 

Finally, as God hath sanctified the rod and correction, 
to cure the evils of their conditions, to drive out that folly 
which is bound up in their hearts, to save their souls from hell, 
to give them wisdom; so it is to be used as God's instrument 
to these purposes. To spare them in these cases is to hate 
them. To love them is to correct them betime. Do it under 
God, and for Him to these ends and with these cautions, and you 
shall never hurt them: you have the Lord for your warrant. 



Correction in such manner, for stubbornness, negligence and 
carelessness, is not. to be accounted over-great severity, much 
less cruelty... 

Spoudeus, I like your advice wonderful well herein: but 
when would you have the time of common punishment to be 
inflicted; as namely that for their misdemeanors in the church, 
or other gross faults noted by the monitors ? 

Philoponus, I would have this done commonly at the 
giving up of the monitors' bills, some day before prayer; some- 
times one day sometimes another : and when the master finds 
the greatest company present, then to call for the monitors of 
that week; lest keeping a set time, any absent themselves by 
feigned excuses or otherwise, or cry unto their parents, that 
they dare not go to the school, because they must be beaten. 
But for extreme negligence, or other faults in the school, the 
very fittest time is immediately before the breaking up, upon 
the play-days; then if needs so require, first to whip all the 
stubborn and notoriously negligent, as also those who have done 
any gross fault: and after to cause them to sit, and do some 
exercises, whereof they are to give a strict account, as I said. 
This will surely by God's blessing tame the proudest of them 
in time and bring them to be as submiss as the least child ; as 
experience will manifest. 

Spoudeus. But what if you have any, whom you cannot 
yet reform of their ungraciousness or loitering and whom you 
can do no good withal, no not by all these means? As some 
there are ever in all schools extremely untoward. 

Philopomis. These I would have some way removed from 
the school; at least by giving the parents. notice and entreating 
them to employ them some other way ; that rieither other be hurt 
by their example, nor they be a reproach to the school, nor yet 
we be enforced to use that severity with them which they will 
deserve. But keep these courses strictly, and you shall see that 
they will either amend, or get away of themselves, by one 
means or other; I mean by some device to their parents to 
leave the school, and to go to some other employment. 

John Brinslby, Ludus Liter arius or the Grammar Schoole 1612 



Counhy Schootmasters 

Sir, I praise the Lord for you, and so may my parishioners ; for their 
sons are well tutored by you, and their daughters profit very greatly under 
you : you arc a good member of the commonwealth. 

honied Labour* i Lost, iv. ii. 75 — 79 

If they be well gowned and bearded, they have two good 
apologies ready made ; but they are beholden to the tailor and 
barber for both: if they can provide for two pottles of wine 
against the next lecture-day, the school being void, there are 
great hopes of preferment: if he gets the place, his care next 
must be for the demeanour of his countenance : he looks over 
his scholars with as great and grave a countenance, as the 
emperor over his army. He will not at first be over busy to 
examine his usher, for fear he should prove, as many curates, 
better scholars than the chief master. As he sits in his seat, 
he must with a grace turn his mustachios up ; his sceptre lies 
not far from him, the rod : he uses martial law most, and the 
day of execution ordinarily is the Friday: at six o'clock his 
army all begin to march; at eleven they keep rendezvous, and 
at five or six at night, they take up their quarters. There are 
many set in authority to teach youth, which never had much 
learning themselves; therefore if he cannot teach them, yet 
his looks and correction shall affright them. But there are some 
who deserve the place by their worth and wisdom, who stayed 
with their mother the university, until learning, discretion and 
judgment had ripened them for the well-managing of a school. 
These I love, respect,, and wish that they may have good means 
either here, or somewhere else. These come from the sea of 
learning, well furnished with rich prizes of knowledge and 
excellent qualities, ballasted they are well with gravity and 
judgment, well steered by religion and a good conscience. And 
these abilities make them the only fit men to govern and instruct 
tender age ; he learns the cradle to speak several languages and 
fits them for places of public note: being thus qualified, 'tis pity 
he should either want means or employment. 

Donald Lupton, London and the Countrey carbonadoed 1632 



§ 3. The University 

Some to the studious universities. 

The T'wo Gentlemen of Verona, I. iii. 10 

Stud y is like the heaven's glorious, sun^ 
*^ That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks; 
Small have continual plodders ever won, 
S ave base authority from others' books. 

Love*s Labour* s Lost, i. i. 84. — 87 

The Unvoersiiies of England 

In my time there are three noble universities in England, 
to wit, one at Oxford, the second at Cambridge and the third 
in London, of which the first two are the most famous, I mean 
Cambridge and Oxford, for that in them the use of the tongues, 
philosophy and the liberal sciences, beside the profound studies 
of the civil law, physic and theology are daily taught and had: 
whereas in the latter the laws of the realm are only read and 
learned by such as give their minds unto the knowledge of the 
same. In the first also there are not only divers goodly houses 
builded four square for the most part of hard freestone or brick, 
with great numbers of lodgings and chambers in the same for stu- 
dents, after a sumptuous manner, through the exceeding liberality 
of kings, queens, bishops, noblemen and ladies of the land ; but 
also large livings and great revenues bestowed upon them (the 
like whereof is not to be seen in any other region, as Peter 
Martyr did oft affirm) to the maintainance only of such 
convenient numbers of poor men's sons as the several stipends 
bestowed upon the said houses are able to support.... 

The manner to live in these universities is not as in some 
other of foreign countries we see daily to happen, where the 
students are enforced for want of such houses to dwell in 
common inns and taverns, without all order or discipline. 
But in dlese_Q^r colleges y ve live in «;nrh __pyarf_nrdprj and 
under so pr ecis£j:ydes_of government, as that the famous learned 
man Erasmus of Rotterdam, being here among us fifty years 
past, did not let to compare the trades in living of students in 
these two places even with the very rules and orders of the 



ancient monks, afEnning moreover, in flat words, our orders 
to be such as not only came near unto, but rather far exceeded, 
all the monastical institutions that ever were devised. 

In most of our colleges there are also great numbers of 
students, of which many are found by the revenues of the 
houses and other by the purveyances and help of their rich 
friends, whereby in some one college you shall have two 
hundred scholars, in others an hundred and fifty, in divers a 
hundred and forty, and in the rest less numbers, as the capacity 
of the said houses is able to receive: so that at this present, of 
one sort and other, there are about three thousand students 
nourished in them both (as by a late survey it manifestly 
appeared). They were erected by their founders at the first 
only for poor men's sons, whose parents were not able to bring 
them up unto learning; but now they have the least benefit of 
them, by reason the rich do so encroach upon them. And so 
far hath this inconvenience spread itself that it is in my time 
an hard matter for a poor man's child to come by a fellowship 
(though he be never so good a scholar and worthy of that 
room). Such packing also is used at elections that not he 
which best deserveth, but he that hath most friends, though he 
be the worst scholar, is always surest to speed ; which will turn 
in the end to the overthrow of learning. That some gentlemen 
also, whose friends have been in times past benefactors to 
certain of those houses, do intrude into the disposition of their 
estates without all respect of order or statutes devised by the 
founders, only thereby to place whom they think good (and 
not without some hope of gain), the case is too too evident : 
and their attempt would soon take place if their superiors did 
not provide to bridle their endeavours. In some grammar 
schools likewise which send scholars to these universities, it 
is lamentable to see what bribery is used; for, ere the scholar 
can be preferred, such bribage is made that poor men's children 
are commonly shut out, and the richer sort received (who in 
time past thought it dishonour to live as it were upon alms), 
and yet, being placed, most of them study little other than 
histories, tables, dice, and trifles, as men that make not living 
by their study the end of their purposes, which is a lamentable 
hearing. Beside this, being for the most part either gentlemen 
or rich men's sons, they oft bring the universities into much 



slander. For, standing upon their reputation and liberty, they 
ruffle and roist it out, exceeding in apparel and haunting riotous 
company (which draweth them from their books unto another 
trade) ; and for excuse, when they are charged with breach of 
all good order, think it sufficient to say that they be gentlemen, 
which grieveth many not a little. 

William Harrison, Description of England 1587 (2nd ed.) 

The life at Oxford 
The stude nt? 1p?»H ^ life f^jmnsf rnnna^Hr • for as the 
rnonE iiad nothing in the world to do biiit~wlien they had 
said their prayers at stated hours, to employ themselves in 
instructive studies, no mpfc-4iave these. They are divided 
into three tables. The^firs^As called the fellows' table, to 
which are admitted earlsll^arons^ gentlpme n, doctors and 
masters of arts^ but very few of the latter ; this is more 
plenrifully^and expensively served than the others. The 
second is for masters of arts, bachelors, some gentlemen, and 
eminent citizens. The third for people of low condition. 
While the rest are at dinner or supper in a great hall, where 
they are all assembled, one of the students reads aloud the 
Bible, which is placed on a desk in the middle of the hall, and 
this office everyone of them takes upon himself in his turn. 
As soon as grace is said after each meal, everyone is at liberty, 
either to retire to his own chambers, or to walk in the college 
garden, there being none that has not a delightful one. Their 
habit is almost the same as that of the Jesuits, their gowns 
reaching down to their ankles, sometimes lined with fur ; they 
wear square caps ; the doctors, masters of arts and professors 
have another kind of gown that distinguishes them : every 
student of any considerable standing has a key to the college 
library, for no college is without one. 

Paul Hentzner, Tra'vels in England 1598 [Rye] 

A y>oang gentleman of the Umverstty 

Sir Andreix) Agueckeek. I would I had bestowed that time in the 
tongues that I have in fencing, dancing and bear-baiting. O ! had I 
but followed the arts ! Tiuelfth-Nighty i. iii. 99 — loi 

A young gentleman of the university is one that comes 
there to wear a gown, and to say hereafter he has been at 

W. E 65 


the university. His father sent him thither, because he heard 
there were the best fencing and dancing schools ; from these 
he has his education, from his tutor the over-sight. The 
first element of his knov^ledge is to be shewn the colleges, 
and initiated in a tavern by the way, which hereafter he 
will learn of himself. The two marks of his seniority 
is the bare velvet of his gown and his proficiency at tennis, 
where when he can once play a set, he is a fresh-man 
no more. His study has commonly handsome shelves, his 
books neat silk strings, which he shews to his father's man, and 
is loth to untie or take down, for fear of misplacing. Upon 
foul days, for recreation, he retires thither, and looks over the 
pretty book his tutor reads to him, which is commonly some 
short history, or a piece of Euphormio ; for which his tutor gives 
him money to spend next day. His main loitering is at the 
library, where he studies arms and books of honour, and turns . 
a gentlemen-critic in pedigrees. Of all things he endures not 
to be mistaken for a scholar, and hates a black suit though it be 
of satin. His companion is ordinarily some stale fellow, that 
has been notorious for an ingle to gold hat-bands, whom he 
admires at first, afterward scorns. If he have spirit or wit, he 
may light of better company and may learn some flashes of wit, 
which may do him knight's service in the country hereafter. 
But he is now gone to the Inns of Court, where he studies 
to forget what he learned before, — his acquaintance and the 

John Earle, Micro-cosmographie 1628 

A mere scholar 

They have been at a great feast of languages and stolen the scraps. 

Lovers Labour's Lost, v. i. 40 

A mere scholar is an intelligible ass, or a silly fellow in 
black, that speaks sentences more familiarly than sense. The 
antiquity of his university is his creed, and the excellency of 
his college (though but for a match at football) an article of 
his faith. He speaks Latin better than his mother-tongue ; and 
is a stranger in no part of the world but his own country. He 
does usually tell great stories of himself to small purpose, for 
they are commonly ridiculous, be they true or false. His 



ambition is, that he either is or shall be a graduate: but if 
ever he get a fellowship, he has then no fellow. In spite of 
all logic he dare swear and maintain it, that a cuckold and a 
townsman are termini convertibiles, though his mother's husband 
be an alderman. He was never begotten (as it seems) without 
much wrangling ; for his whole life is spent in pro and contra. 
His tongue goes always before his wit, like gentleman-usher, 
but somewhat faster. That he is a complete gallant in all 
points, cap a pie, witness his horsemanship and the wearing of 
his weapons. He is commonly longwinded, able to speak more 
with ease, than any man can endure to hear with patience. 
University jests are his universal discourse, and his news the 
demeanour of the proctors. His phrase, the apparel of his 
mind, is made of divers shreds like a cushion, and when it 
goes plainest, it hath a rash outside, and fustian linings. The 
current of his speech is closed with an ergo ; and whatever be 
the question, the truth is on his side. 'Tis a wrong to his 
reputation to be ignorant of any thing ; and yet he knows not 
that he knows nothing. He gives directions for husbandry from 
Virgil's Georgics ; for cattle from his Bucolics ; for warlike 
stratagems from his Aeneid^ or Caesar's Commentaries. He 
orders all things by the book, is skilful in all trades, and thrives 
in none. He is led more by his ears than his understanding, 
taking the sound of words for their true sense : and does 
therefore confidently believe, that Erra Pater was the father 
of heretics ; Rodulphus Agricola a substantial farmer ; and will 
not stick to aver that Systema's Logic doth excel Keckerman's. 
His ill luck is not so much in being a fool, as in being put to 
such pains to express it to the world : for what in others is 
natural, in him (with much-a-do) is artificial. His poverty is his 
happiness, for it makes some men believe, that he is none of 
fortune's favourites. That learning which he hath, was in his 
nonage put in backward like a clyster, and 'tis now like ware 
mislaid in a pedlar's pack ; 'a has it, but knows not where it is. 
In a word, he is the index of a man, and the title-page of a 
scholar ; or a puritan in morality : much in profession, nothing 
in practice. 

Sir Thomas Overbury, Characters 1614. — 16 

B2 67 

§ 4. Travel 

Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits. 

The T^wo Gentlemen cf Verona, i. i. 2 
Hortensio. And tell me now, sweet friend, what happy gale 

Blows you to Padua here from old Verona ? 
Petruchio. Such wind as scatters young men through the world 
To seek their fortunes farther than at home, 
Where small experience grows. 

The Taming of the ShrenVy i, ii. 48 — 52 
My tablets — meet it is I set it down. 

Hamlet, i. v. 107 

Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education ; in the 
elder, a part of experience. He that travelleth into a country, 
before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school 
and not to travel. That young men travel under some tutor 
or grave servant, I allow^ w^ell ; so that he be such a one that 
hath the language and hath been in the country before ; 
whereby he may be able to tell them what things are worthy 
to be seen in the country where they go, what acquaintances 
they are to seek, what exercises or discipline the place yieldeth. 
For else young men shall go hooded and look abroad little. It 
is a strange thing that in sea voyages, where there is nothing to 
be seen but sky and sea, men should make diaries ; but in 
land travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the most 
part they omit it ; as if chance were litter to be registered than 
observation. Let diaries, therefore, be brought in use. The 
things to be seen and observed are : — the courts of princes, 
specially when they give audience to ambassadors ; the courts 
of justice, while they sit and hear causes, and so of consistories 
ecclesiastic ; the churches and monasteries, with the monu- 
ments which are therein extant ; the walls and fortifications of 
cities and towns, and so the havens and harbours ; antiquities 
and ruins : libraries, colleges, disputations and lectures, where 
any are ; shipping and navies ; houses and gardens of state and 
pleasure near great cities ; armories ; arsenals ; magazines ; 
exchanges ; burses ; warehouses ; exercises of horsemanship ; 
fencing; training of soldiers and the like; comedies, such 
whereunto the better sort of persons do resort ; treasuries of 
jewels and robes ; cabinets and rarities ; ancT, to conclude, 
whatsoever is memorable in the places where they go. After 



all which the tutors or servants ought to make diligent 
enquiry. As for triumphs, masques, feasts, weddings, funerals, 
capital executions and such shews, men need not to be put 
in mind of them ; yet are they not to be neglected. If you 
will have a young man to put his travel into a little room, 
and in short time to gather much, this you must do. First, as 
was said, he must have some entrance into the language before 
he goeth. Then he must have such a servant or tutor, as 
knoweth the country, as was likewise said. Let him carry 
with him also some card or book describing the country where 
he travelleth ; which will be a good key to his enquiry. Let 
him keep also a diary. Let him not stay long in one city or 
town ; more or less as the place deserveth, but not long : nay, 
when he stayeth in one city or town, let him change his 
lodging from one end and part of the town to another; which 
is a great adamant of acquaintance. Let him sequester himself 
from the company of his countrymen, and diet in such places 
where there is good company of the nation where he travelleth. 
Let him upon his removes from one place to another procure 
recommendation to some person of quality residing in the 
place whither he removeth, that he may use his favour in 
those things he desireth to see or know. Thus he may abridge 
his travel, with much profit. As for the acquaintance which 
is to be sought in travel, that which is most of all profitable is 
acquaintance with the secretaries and employed men of am- 
bassadors ; for so in travelling in one country he shall suck the 
experience of many. Let him also see and visit eminent 
persons in all kinds which are of great name abroad, that he 
may be able to tell how the life agreeth with the fame. For 
quarrels, they are with care and discretion to be avoided : 
they are commonly for mistresses, healths, place and words. 
And let a man beware how he keepeth company with choleric 
and quarrelsome persons, for they will engage him into their 
own quarrels. When a traveller retunieth home, let him not 
leave the countries where he hath travelled altogether behind 
him, but maintain a correspondence, by letters, with those of 
his acquaintance which are of most worth. And let his travel 
appear rather in his discourse than in his apparel or gesture : 
and in his discourse, let him be rather advised in his answers 
than forward to tell stories : and let it appear, that he doth not 




change his country manners for those of foreign parts, but 
only prick in some flowers of that he hath learned abroad into 
the customs of his own country. 

Francis Bacon, Essays 1597 — 1625 

The abuse of foreign travel 

Farewell, Monsieur Traveller : look you lisp, and wear strange suits, 
disable all the benefits of your own country, be out of love with your 
nativity, and almost chide God for making you that countenance you are j 
or I will scarce think you have swam in a gondola. 

As Tou Like It^ iv. i. 35 — 40 

Foreign travel oftentimes makes many to wander from them- 
selves as well as from their country, and to come back mere 
mimics ; and so in going far to fare worse, and bring back less 
wit than they carried forth. They go out figures (according to 
the Italian proverb) and return ciphers. They retain the vice of 
a country, and will discourse learnedly thereon, but pass by 
and forget the good, their memories being herein like hair-sieves, 
that keep up the bran and let go the fine flour. They strive to 
degenerate as much as they can from Englishmen, and all their 
talk is still foreign, or at least will bring it to be so, though 
it be by head and shoulders, magnifying other nations, and 
derogating from their own. Nor can one hardly exchange three 
words with them at an ordinary (or elsewhere) but presently 
they are th' other side of the sea, commending either the wines 
of France, the fruits of Italy, or the oil and salads of Spain. 

Some also there are who by their countenance more than by 
their carriage, by their diseases more than by their discourses, 
discover themselves to have been abroad under hot climates. 

Others have a custom to be always relating strange things 
and wonders (of the humour of Sir John Mandeville), and they 
usually present them to the hearers through multiplying glasses, 
and thereby cause the thing to appear far greater than it is in 
itself. They make mountains of mole-hills, like Charenton 
bridge echo, which doubles the sound nine times. Such a 
traveller was he, that reported the Indian fly to be as big as 
a fox, China birds to be as big as some horses, and their mice 
to be as big as monkeys. But they have the wit to fetch this far 
enough off, because the hearer may rather believe it than make 
a voyage so far to disprove it. 



Everyone knows the tale of him who reported he had seen 
a cabbage under whose leaves a regiment of soldiers were 
sheltered from a shower of rain. Another who was no traveller 
(yet the wiser man) said, he had passed by a place where there 
were four hundred braziers making of a cauldron, two hundred 
within and two hundred without, beating the nails in. The 
traveller asking for what use that huge cauldron was, he told 
him, "Sir it was to boil your cabbage."... 

Furthermore, there is amongst many others (which were too 
long to recite here) an odd kind of anglicism, wherein some do 
frequently express themselves, as to say " Your boors of Holland, 
sir ; your Jesuits of Spain, sir ; your courtezans of Venice, sir : " 
whereunto one answered (not impertinently) "My courtezans 
sir? Pox on them all for me, they are none of my courtezans." 

Lastly, some kind of travellers there are, whom their gait 
and strutting, their bending in the hams and shoulders, and 
looking upon their legs, with frisking and singing do speak them 

Others by a fantastic kind of ribanding themselves, by 
their modes of habit and clothing. make themselves known 
to have breathed foreign air. 

James Howell, Instructions for forre'ine tra-vell 1 642 

The liatianaie Englishman 

Fashions in proud Italy, 
Whose manners still our tardy apish nation 
Limps after in base imitation. 

Richard il.y 11. i. 21 — 23 

Sir Richard Sackville, that worthy gentleman of worthy 
memory, as I said in the beginning, in the queen's privy 
chamber at Windsor, after he had talked with me for the right 
choice of a good wit in a child for learning, and of the true 
difference betwixt quick and hard wits, of alluring young 
children by gentleness to love learning, and of the special care 
that was to be had to keep young men from licentious living, 
he was most earnest with me, to have me say my mind also, 
what I thought concerning the fancy that many young f^T,n*^^^- 
qien^o f Kng lan ^ have to travel abroad, and p ^ m^ly-^ 1 **" ^ n - 
long life in Italy. H is request, both for his authority and good 
will toward me, was a sufficient commandment unto me to 



satisfy his pleasure with uttering plainly my opinion in that 
matter. "Sir," quoth I, "I take going thither and living there for 
a young gentleman that doth not go under the keep and guard 
of such a man, as both by wisdom can, and authority dare rule 
him, to be marvellous dangerous." And why I said so then, I 
will declare at large now : which I said then privately and 
write now openly, not because I do contemn either the know- 
ledge of strange and diverse tongues, and namely the Italian 
tongue, which next to the Greek and Latin tongue I like and 
love above all other; or else because I do despise the learning 
that is gotten, or the experience that is gathered in strange 
countries ; or for any private malice that I bear to Italy, which 
country, and in it namely Rome I have always specially 
honoured. JSaca ^se, time •w^ a^^^whenltaly^nd Rome hrrr 
been^ to the f^reat p ;ood of^us^li^^ow liveTthe best breeders an<j[ 
bringers^jipL-of the worthi S^^iien^not loJ oIJMfor wi^c ^eaking y 
but also for wd l doing in all civ il afFairSj that-never. wa«; |p thp 
■SmrlriTIL^But now, that time is gone, and though the place 
remain, yet the old and present manners do differ as far as 
black and white, as virtue and vice. Virtue once made that 
country mistress over all the world. Vice now maketh that 
country slave to them that before were glad to serve it. All 
men seeth it : they themselves confess it, namely such as be 
best and wisest amongst them. For sin, by lust and vanity, 
hath and doth breed up everywhere common contempt of 
God's word, private contention in many families, open factions 
in every city : and so, making themselves bond to vanity and 
vice at home, they are content to bear the yoke of serving 
strangers abroad. Italy now is not that Italy, that it was wont 
to be : and therefore now not so fit a place, as some do count 
it, for young men to fetch either wisdom or honesty from 
thence. For surely, they will make other but bad scholars, 
that be so ill masters to themselves.... 

But I am afraid that over many of our travellers into Italy 
do not eschew the way to Circe's court, but go, and ride, and 
run, and fly thither. They make great haste to come to her: 
they make great suit to serve her : yea, I could point out some 
with my finger, that never had gone out of England, but only 
to serve Circes in Italy. Vanity and vice, and any licence to 
ill living in England was counted stale and rude unto them. 



And<-sc>5--betrr^--mule&_.aiidhorses before they went, returned 
"v^Tj^swine and asses home again7^y gt~^verfwhere very foxes 
with subtle and busy heads, and, where they may, very 
wolves with cruel malicious hearts. A marvellous monster, 
which for filthiness of living, for dullness to learning himself, 
for wiliness in dealing with others, for malice in hurting 
without cause, should carry at once in one body the belly of a 
swine, the head of an ass, the brain ofaib2^the womb of a 
wolf. If you think we judge~ailiiss, UfiTwrite too sore against 
you, hear what the Italian saith of the Englishman, what the 
master reporteth of the scholar : who uttereth plainly, what is 
taught by him, and what learned by you, saying, Englese 
ita/ianatOy e un diavolo incarnato^ that is to say, you remain men 
in shape and fashion, but become devils in life and condition. 
This is not the opinion of'one for some private spite, but the 
judgment of all in a common proverb, which riseth of that 
learning and those manners which you gather in Italy : a good 
schoolhouse of wholesome doctrine and worthy masters of 
commendable scholars, where the master had rather defame 
himself for his teaching, than not shame his scholar for his 
learning. A good nature of the master and fair conditions of 
the scholars. And now choose you, you Italian Englishmen, 
whether you will be angry with us for calling you monsters, or 
with the Italians for calling you devils, or else with your own 
selves, that take so much pains and go so far to make your 
selves both. If some yet do not well understand what is an 
Englishman Italianated, I will plainly tell him. He, that by 
livin g and travelling in Italy, bringeth hpo ;ie info Eng land out 
of jtaly'the religion, th p Ifnrnjng^ thiT^nliry., the experience, 
fh^mapn^ r*^ Qf T mly, Thnt is to say, for religion papistry or 
worse : for learning less commonly than they carried out with 
them : for policy a factious heart, a discoursing head, a mind 
to meddle in all men's matters : for experience plenty of new 
mischiefs never known in England before : for mann^ra^riety 
of vanities, and c l}^ngp nf gltlr^1iv[jT^r^ These~beme endi*cnt«=^ 
ments of Circes, brought out of Italy to mar men's manners in 
England ; much by example of ill life, but more by precepts of 
fond books, of late translated out of Italian into English, sold in 
every shop in London, commended by honest titles the sooner to 
corrupt honest manneib, dedicated over boldly to virtuous and 



honourable personages, the easier to beguile simple and inno- 
cent wits. It is pity that those which have authority and 
charge to allow and disallow books to be printed, be no more 
circumspect herein than they are. Ten sermons at Paul's 
Cross do not so much good for moving men to true doctrine, as 
one of those books do harm with enticing men to ill living. 
Yea, I say farther, those books tend not so much to corrupt 
honest living, as they do to subvert true religion. More 
papists be made, by your merry books of Italy, than by your 
earnest books of Louvain. And because our great physicians 
do wink at the matter, and make no count of this sore, I, 
though not admitted one of their fellowship, yet having been 
many years a prentice to God's true religion, and trust to 
continue a poor journey-man therein all days of my life, for 
the duty I owe and love I bear both to true doctrine and 
honest living, though I have no authority to amend the sore 
myself, yet I will declare my good will to discover the sore to 

Roger Ascham, The Scholemaster 1570 



^ 3 







Shalloiv. 1*11 drink to Master Bardolph and to all the cavaleiroes 
about London, 

Davy. I hope to see London once ere I die. 

2 Henry IT., v. iii. 60 — 61 

Shallo^w. O, Sir John, do you remember since we lay all night in 
the windmill in Saint George's fields?.,. 

Silence That *s fifty -five year ago. 

Shallow. Ha ! cousin Silence, that thou hadst seen that that this 
knight and I have seen. Ha ! Sir John, said I well ? 

Falstaff. We have heard the chimes at midnight. Master Shallow, 

Shallonv. That we have, that we have, that we have ; in faith. Sir 
John, we have. Our watchword was, " Hem, boys ! " Come, let 's to 
dinner ; come, let 's to dinner. Jesus, the days that we have seen ! come, 
come. ibid. iii. ii, 208 — 237 

§ I, The road to London 

Jog on, jog on the foot-path way, 

And merrily hent the stile-a : 
A merry heart goes all the day. 

Your sad tires in a mile-a. 

The Winter's Tale, iv. ii. 133—136 

The State of the Roads 
Now to speak generally of our common highways through 
the English part of the isle (for of the rest I can say nothing), 
you shall understand that in the clay or cledgy soil they are 
often very deep and troublesome in the winter half. Wherefore 
by authority of parliament an order is taken for their yearly 
amendment, whereby all sorts of the common people do employ 



their travail for six days in summer upon the same. And 
albeit that the intent of the statute is very profitable for the 
reparations of the decayed places, yet the rich do so cancel 
their portions, and the poor so loiter in their labours, that of 
all the six, scarcely two good days' work are well performed 
and accomplished in a parish on these so necessary affairs. 
Besides this, such as have land lying upon the sides of the 
ways do utterly neglect to ditch and scour their drains and 
water-courses for better avoidance of the winter waters (except 
it may be set off or cut from the meaning of the statute), 
whereby the streets do grow to be much more gulled than 
before, and thereby very noisome for such as travel by the same. 
Sometimes also, and that very often, these days* works are not 
employed upon those ways that lead from market to market, 
but each surveyor amendeth such by-plots and lanes as seem 
best for his own commodity and more easy passage unto his 
fields and pastures. And whereas in some places there is such 
want of stones, as thereby the inhabitants are driven to seek 
them far off in other soils, the owners of the lands wherein 
those stones are to be had, and which hitherto have given 
money to have them borne away, do now reap no small 
commodity by raising the same to excessive prices, whereby 
their neighbours are driven to grievous charges, which is 
another cause wherefore the meaning of that good law is 
very much defrauded. Finally, this is another thing likewise 
to be considered of, that the trees and bushes growing by the 
streets' sides do not a little keep off the force of the sun in 
summer for drying up of the lanes. Wherefore if order were 
taken that their boughs should continually be kept short, and 
the bushes not suffered to spread so far into the narrow paths, 
that inconvenience would also be remedied, and many a slough 
prove hard ground that yet is deep and hollow. Of the daily 
encroaching of the covetous upon the highwaj/^s I speak not. 
But this I know by experience, that whereas some streets 
within these five and twenty years have been in most places 
fifty foot broad according to the law, whereby the traveller 
might either escape the thief, or shift the mire, or pass by the 
loaden cart without danger of himself and his horse ; now they 
are brought unto twelve, or twenty, or six and twenty at the 
most, which is another cause also whereby the ways be the 



worse, and many an honest man encumbered in his journey. 
But what speak I of these things whereof I do not think to 
hear a just redress, because the error is so common, and the 
benefit thereby so sweet and profitable to many by such houses 
and cottages as are raised upon the same. 

William Harrison, Description of England 1587 (2nd ed.) 

The Cambridge to London road 

On the road we passed through a villainous boggy and wild 
country and several times missed our way because the country 
thereabouts is very little inhabited and is nearly a waste ; and 
there is one spot in particular where the mud is so deep that in 
my opinion it would scarcely be possible to pass with a coach in 
winter or in rainy weather. 

Visit of Frederick, Duke of Wttrtemberg, 1592 [Rye] 

Means of Communication 

Scene. Rochester. An Inn-yard 
Gadshill. Good morrow, carriers. What *s o'clock ? 
First Carrier. I think it be two o'clock. 

Gadshill. I prithee, lend me thy lanthorn, to see my gelding in the stable. 
Second Carrier. ...Lend me thy lanthorn, quoth a'? marry, I'll see 

thee hanged first. 

Gadshill. Sirrah carrier, what time do you mean to come to London } 
Second Carrier. Time enough to go to bed with a candle, I warrant 

thee. Come, neighbour Mugs, we'll call up the gendemen : they will 

along with company, for they have great charge. 

I Henry IF.y 11. i. 36 — 51 

The Post 

In England towards the south, and in the west parts, and 
from London to Berwick upon the confines of Scotland, 
post-horses are established at every ten miles or thereabouts, 
which they ride a false gallop after some ten miles an hour 
sometimes, and that makes their hire the greater : for with a 
commission from the chief post-master, or chief lords of the 
Council (given either upon public business, or at least pretence 
thereof) a passenger shall pay twopence halfpenny each mile 
for his horse, and as much for his guide's horse : but one guide 
will serve the whole company, though many ride together, who 



may easily bring back the horses, driving them before him, who 
know the way as well as a beggar knows his dish. They 
which have no such commission pay threepence for each 
mile. This extraordinary charge of horses' hire may well be 
recompensed with the speed of the journey, whereby greater 
expenses in the inns are avoided. All the difficulty is to have a 
body able to endure the toil. For these horses the passenger 
is at no charge to give them meat, only at the ten miles' end 
the boy that carries them back will expect some few pence in 
gift. Some nobleman hath the office of chief post-master, 
being a place of such account as commonly he is one of the 
King's Council. And not only he, but other lords of the 
Council, according to the qualities of their offices, use to give 
the foresaid commissions signed with their hands jointly or 
severally : but their hands are less regarded than the post- 
master's, except they be favourites, and of the highest offices, 
or the business be important. 


In the inns men of inferior condition use to eat at the 
host's table, and pay some sixpence a meal : but gentlemen have 
their chambers, and eat alone, except perhaps they have consorts 
and friends in their company and of their acquaintance. If 
they be accompanied, perhaps their reckoning may commonly 
come to some two shillings a man, and one that eats alone in 
his own chamber with one or two servants attending him, perhaps 
upon reckoning may spend some five or six shillings for supper 
and breakfast. But in the northern parts, when I passed 
towards Scotland, gentlemen themselves did not use to keep 
their chambers, but to eat at an ordinary table together, where 
they had great plenty of good meat ^nd especially of choice 
kinds of fish, and each man paid no more than sixpence and 
sometimes but fourpence a meal. One horse's meat will come 
to twelve pence, or eighteen pence the night for hay, oats and 
straw, and in summer time commonly they put the horses to 
grass, after the rate of threepence each horse, though some who 
ride long journeys will either keep them in the stable at hard 
meat as they do in winter, or else give them a little oats in the 
morning when they are brought up from grass. English 
passengers taking any journey seldom dine, especially not in 



winter, and withal ride long journeys. But there is no place 
in the world where passengers may so freely command as in 
the English inns, and are attended for themselves and their 
horses as well as if they were at home, and perhaps better, 
each servant being ready at call, in hope of a small reward in 
the morning. Neither did I ever see inns so well furnished 
with household stuff. 

Coaches and hackneys 

Coaches are not to be hired anywhere but only at London ; 
and howsoever England is for the most part plain, or consisting 
of pleasant hills, yet the ways far from London are so dirty as 
hired coachmen do not ordinarily take any long journeys, but 
only for one or two days any way from London, the ways so 
far being sandy and very fair and continually kept so by labour 
of hands. And for a day's journey, a coach with two horses 
used to be let for some ten shillings the day (or the way being 
short for some eight shillings, so as the passengers paid for the 
horses' meat) or some fifteen shillings a day for three horses, 
the coachman paying for his horses' meat. Sixty or seventy 
years ago coaches were very rare in England, but at this day 
pride is so far increased, as there be few gentlemen of any 
account (I mean elder brothers) who have not their coaches, 
so as the streets of London are almost stopped up with them. 
Yea, they who only respect comeliness and profit, and are 
thought free from pride, yet have coaches ; because they find 
the keeping thereof more commodious and profitable than of 
horses, since two or three coach-horses will draw four or five 
persons, besides the commodity of carrying many necessaries in 
a coach. For the most part Englishmen, especially in long 
journeys, use to ride upon their own horses. But if any will 
hire a horse, at London they use to pay two shillings the first 
day, and twelve or perhaps eighteen pence a day for as many 
days as they keep him, till the horse be brought home to the 
owner, and the passenger must either bring him back, or pay 
for the sending of him, and find him meat both going and 
coming. In other parts of England a man may hire a horse 
for twelve pence a day, finding him meat and bringing or 
sending him back ; and if the journey be long, he may hire 
him at a convenient rate for a month or two. 




Likewise carriers let horses from city to city, with caution 
that the passenger must lodge in their inn, that they may look 
to the feeding of their horses, and so they will for some five 
or six days* journey let him a horse, and find the horse meat 
themselves for some twenty shillings. Lastly, these carriers 
have long covered waggons, in which they carry passengers 
from city to city : but this kind of journeying is so tedious, by 
reason they must take waggon very early, and come very late 
to their inns, as none but women and people of inferior 
condition, or strangers (as Flemings with their wives and 
servants) use to travel in this sort. 

Fynes Moryson, Itinerary 1617 

A carrier is his own hackneyman, for he lets himself out 
to travel as well as his horses. He is the ordinary ambassador 
between friend and friend, the father and the son, and brings 
rich presents to the one, but never returns any back again. 
He is no unlettered man, though in shew simple, for question- 
less he has much in his budget which he can utter too in fit 
time and place. He is like the vault in Gloucester church, 
that conveys whispers at a distance ; for he takes the sound 
out of your mouth at York, and makes it be heard as far as 
London. He is the young students' joy and expectation, and 
the most accepted guest, to whom they lend a willing hand to 
discharge him of his burden. His first greeting is, "Your 
friends are well " ; then in a piece of gold delivers their blessing. 
You would think him a churlish blunt fellow, but they find in 
him many tokens of humanity. He is a great afflicter of the 
highways, and beats them out of measure ; which injury is 
sometimes revenged by the purse-taker, and then the voyage 
miscarries. No man domineers more in his inn, nor calls his 
host unreverently with more presumption, and this arrogance 
proceeds out of the strength of his horses. He forgets not 
his load where he takes his ease, for he is drunk commonly 
before he goes to bed. He is like the prodigal child still 
packing away, and still returning again. But let him pass. 
John Earle, Micro-cosmographie 1628 



English Inns 
Servants in league with highwaymen 

Chamberlain. Good morrow, Master Gadshill. It holds current that 
I told you yesternight : there's a franklin in the wild of Kent hath brought 
three hundred marks with him in gold : I heard him tell it to one of his 
company last night at supper ; a kind of auditor ; one that hath abundance 
of charge too, God knows what. They are up already and call for eggs 
and butter : they will away presently. 


Gadshill. Give me thy hand : thou shalt have a share in our purchase, 
as I am a true man. 

Chamberlain. Nay, rather let me have It, as you are a false thief. 

1 Henry IF.^ ii. i. 58 — 103 

Those towns that we call thoroughfares have great and 
sumptuous inns builded in them for the receiving of such 
travellers and strangers as pass to and fro. The manner of 
harbouring wherein is not like to that of some other countries 
in which the host or goodman of the house doth challenge 
a lordly authority over his guests, but clean otherwise, sith 
every man may use his inn as his own house in England and 
have for his money .how great or little variety of victuals, and 
what other service himself shall think expedient to call for. 
Our inns are also very well furnished with napery, bedding 
and tapestry, especially with napery : for beside the linen used 
at the tables, which is commonly washed daily, is such and so 
much as belongeth unto the estate and calling of the guest. 
Each comer is sure to lie in clean sheets, wherein no man hath 
been lodged since they came from the laundress or out of the 
water wherein they were last washed. If the traveller have 
an horse, his bed doth cost him nothing, but if he go on foot 
he is sure to pay a penny for the same : but whether he be 
horseman or footman if his chamber be once appointed he may 
carry the key with him, as of his own house, so long as he lodgeth 
there. If he lose ought whilst he abideth in the inn, the host 
is bound by a general custom to restore the damage, so that 
there is no greater security anywhere for travellers than in the 
greatest inns of England. Their horses in like sort are walked, 
dressed and looked unto by certain hostlers or hired servants, 
aopointed at the charges of the goodman of the house, who in 

W. F 81 


hope of extraordinary reward will deal very diligently, after 
outward appearance, in this their function and calling. Herein 
nevertheless are many of them blameworthy, in that they do 
not only deceive the beast oftentimes of his allowance by 
sundry means, except their owners look well to them ; but 
also make such packs with slipper merchants which hunt after 
prey (for what place is sure from evil and wicked persons?) that 
many an honest man is spoiled of his goods as he travelleth to 
and fro, in which feat also the counsel of the tapsters or 
drawers of drink, and chamberlains is not seldom behind or 
wanting. Certes I believe that not a chapman or traveller in 
England is robbed by the way without the knowledge of some 
of them ; for when he cometh into the inn, and ahghteth from 
his horse, the hostler forthwith is very busy to take down his 
budget or capcase in the yard from his saddle-bow, which he 
peiseth slyly in his hand to feel the weight thereof: or if he 
miss of this pitch, when the guest hath taken up his chamber, 
the chamberlain that looketh to the making of the beds will 
be sure to remove it from the place where the owner hath set 
it, as if it were to set it more conveniently somewhere else, 
whereby he getteth an inkling whether it be money or other sort 
wares, and thereof giveth warning to such odd guests as haunt 
the house and are of his confederacy, to the utter undoing of 
many an honest yeoman as he journeyeth by the way. The 
tapster in like sort for his part doth mark his behaviour, and 
what plenty of money he draweth when he payeth the shot, to 
the like end : so that it shall be an hard matter to escape all 
their subtle practices. Some think it a gay matter to commit 
their budgets at their coming to the goodman of the house : but 
thereby they oft bewray themselves. For albeit their money be 
safe for the time that it is in his hands (for you shall not hear 
that a man is robbed in his inn) yet after their departure the 
host can make no warrantise of the same, sith his protection 
extendeth no further than the gate of his own house : and there 
cannot be a surer token unto such as pry and watch for those 
booties, than to see any guest deliver his capcase in such 

In all our inns we have plenty of ale, beer and sundry kinds 
of wine, and such is the capacity of some of them that they are 
able to lodge two hundred or three hundred persons and their 



horses at ease, and thereto with a very short warning make such 
provision for their diet, as to him that is unacquainted withal 
may seem to be incredible. Howbeit of all in England there 
are no worse inns than in London, and yet many are there far 
better than the best that I have heard of in any foreign 
country, if all circumstances be duly considered... And it is a 
world to see how each owner of them contendeth with other 
for goodness of entertainment of their guests, as about fineness 
and change of linen, furniture of bedding, beauty of rooms, 
service at the table, costliness of plate, strength of drink, 
variety of wines, or well using of horses. Finally there is not 
so much omitted among them as the gorgeousness of their very 
signs at their doors, wherein some do consume thirty or forty 
pounds, a mere vanity in mine opinion ; but so vain will they 
needs be, and that not only to give some outward token of the 
inn-keeper's wealth, but also to procure good guests to the 
frequenting of their houses in hope there to be well used. 
William Harrison, Description of England 1587 (2nd ed.) 

Htghtvaymen on Gadshilt 

First Tranjeller. Come, neighbour; the boy shall lead our horses 

down the hill ; we'll walk afoot awhile, and ease our legs. 

Thieves. Stand! 

Travellers. Jesu bless us ! 

Falstaff. Strike ; down with them ; cut the villains* throats : ah ! 

whoreson caterpillars ! bacon-fed knaves ! they hate us youth : down with 

them} fleece them. 1 Hotry IF.^ 11. ii. 86 — 95 

Afterwards his Highness rode back again [from Rochester] 
to Gravesend, the night being as dark as pitch and the wind high 
and boisterous ; he slept there that night. On the road, however, 
an Englishman, with a drawn sword in his hand, came upon us 
unawares and ran after us as fast as he could ; perhaps he ex- 
pected to find other persons, for it is very probable that he 
had an ambush, as that particular part of the road is not the 
most safe. 

Visit of Frederick, Duke of Wtirtemberg, 1592 [Rye] 

F2 83 


§ 2« First impressions of London 

But now behold, 
In the quick forge and working-house of thought, 
How London doth pour out her citizens. 

Henry V.y v. chor. 22 — 24 

A foreigner's opinion 

London is a large, excellent and mighty city of business, 
and the most important in the whole kingdom ; most of the 
inhabitants are employed in buying and selling merchandize, 
and tra,^jnpr in almost every corner of the world, since the river 
is most useful and convenient for this purpose, considering that 
ships from France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, flam- 
burg and other kingdoms, come almost up to the city, to 
which they convey goods and receive and take away others in 

It is a very populous city, so that one can scarcely pass along 
the streets, on account of the throng. 

The inhabitants are magnificently apparelled, and are 
_ extremel y proud and overbearing ; and because the greater 
part, especially the tradespeople, seldom go into other countries, 
but alwa ys remain in their houses in the city attending to their 
business, the jr care little tor" foreigners, but scoff and laugh at 
them; a ndmoieuver one daie not oppo'Se'them, else'tlTrstf€<gP 
boys and apprentices collect together in immense crowds and 
strike to the right and left unmercifully without regard to 
person ; and because they are the strongest, one is obliged to 
put up with the insult as well as the injury. 

The women have much more liberty than perhaps in any 
other place ; they also know well how to make use of it, for 
they go (jressed out iri exceedingly fine clothes, a nd give all their 
attention to their ruffs and stuffs, to such a degree indeed, that, 
as I am informed, many a one does not hesitate to wear velvet 
in the streets, which is common with them, whilst^at home 
they have not a piece of dry bread. All theEnglish 

women areaccils$ni^thi:5~ Avear hats upon their heads, and 
gowns cut after the old German fashion — for indeed their 
descent is from the Saxons. 

Visit of Frederick, Duke of WOrtemberg, 1592 [Rye] 



The Buildings 

Now at London the houses of the citizens (especially in the 
chief streets) are very narrow in the front towards the street, 
but are built five or six roofs high, commonly of timber and clay 
with plaster, and are very neat and commodious within : and 
the building of citizens* houses in other cities is not much 
unlike this. But withal understand, that in London many 
stately palaces, built by noblemen upon the river Thames, do 
make a very great shew to them that pass by water ; and that 
there be many more like palaces, also built towards land, but 
scattered and great part of them in back lanes and streets, which 
if they were joined to the first in good order, as other cities are 
built uniformly, they would make not only fair streets, but even 
a beautiful city, to which few might justly be preferred for the 
magnificence of the building. Besides that, the aldermen's and 
chief citizens' houses, howsoever they are stately for building, 
yet being built all inward, that the whole room towards the 
streets may be reserved for shops of tradesmen, make no shew 
outwardly, so as in truth all the magnificence of London build- 
ing is hidden from the view of strangers at the first sight, till 
they have more particular view thereof by long abode there, 
and then they will prefer the buildings of this famous city to 
many that appear more stately at the first sight. Great part of 
the towns and villages are built like the citizens' houses in 
London, save that they are not so many stories high nor so 
narrow in the front towards the street. Others of them are 
built in like sort of unpolished small stones, and some of the 
villages in Lincolnshire and some other countries are of mere 
clay, and covered with thatch ; yet even these houses are more 
commodious within for cleanliness, lodging and diet, than any 
stranger would think them to be. Most of the houses in cities 
and towns have cellars under them, where for coolness they lay 
beer and wine. Gentlemen's houses for the most part are built 
like those in the cities, but very many of gentlemen's and noble- 
men's palaces, as well near London as in other countries, are 
stately built of brick and freestone, whereof many yield not in 
magnificence to like buildings of other kingdoms, as Homby, 
built by Sir Christopher Hatton j Tybals lately belonging to the 
Earl of Salisbury, seated near London ; and the Earl of Exeter 
his house near Stamford : by which palaces lying near the 



highway a stranger may judge of many other h*ke stately 
buildings in other parts. The King's palaces are of such 
magnificent building, so curious art, and such pleasure and 
beauty for gardens and fountains, and are so many in number, 
as England need not envy any other kingdom therein. Among 
them being many a stranger may see near London : the King's 
palaces of Hampton Court, of Richmond, of Greenwich, of 
Nonsuch, of Oatlands, of Sheen, of Windsor, and in London 
the palace of Whitehall. 

Fynes Moryson, Itinerary 1617 

The Thames 

This is a long, broad, slippery fellow ; rest he affects not, 
for he is always in motion : he seems something like a carrier, 
for he is still either going or coming, and once in six or eight 
hours, salutes the sea his mother and then brings tidings from 
her. He follows the disposition of the wind, if that be rough, 
so is the water ; if that calm, so is this : and he loves it, because 
when the wind is at highest, then the water will best show her 
strength and anger : it is altogether unsteady, for it commonly 
is sliding away. Man's unconstant state, and uncertain frail 
condition is truly resembled by this, always either ebbing or 
flowing, being in a trice high and low. He will not be a martyr, 
for he will turn but never burn. Resolution is absolutely his 
guide and counsellor, for he will run his course. He cannot be 
said to be a well or spring without water, for he is puteus in- 

Merchandise he likes and loves ; and therefore sends forth 
ships of traffic to most parts of the earth : his subjects and 
inhabitants live by oppression like hard landlords at land, the 
greater rule, and many times devour the less : the city is 
wondrously beholden to it, for she is furnished with almost all 
necessaries by it. He is wondrously crossed, he is the maintainer 
of a great company of watermen. He is a great labourer, for he 
worlK as much in the night as the day. He is led by an 
unconstant guide, the moon : he is clean contrary to Smithfield, 
because that is all for flesh, but this for fish : his inhabitants are 
different from those upon land, for they are most without legs : 
fishermen seem to offer him much wrong, for they rob him of 
many of his subjects : he is seldom without company, but in 


the night or rough weather. He meets the sun but follows the 
moon : he seems to complain at the bridge, because it hath 
intruded into his bowels, and that makes him roar at that place. 
To speak truth of him, he is the privileged place for fish and 
ships, the glory and wealth of the city, the highway to the sea, 
the bringer in of wealth and strangers, and his business is all for 
water, yet he deals much with the land too : he is a little sea, 
and a great river. 

Donald Lupton, London and the Countrey carbonadoed ifijz 

A Water-man 
Is one that hath learnt to speak well of himself ; for always he 
names himself, " the first man." If he had betaken himself to 
some richer trade, he could not have choosed but done well : for 
in this (though it be a mean one) he is still plying it, and putting 
himself forward. He is evermore telling strange news, most 
commonly lies. If he be a sculler, ask him if he be married, 
he'll equivocate and swear he's a single man. Little trust is to 
be given to him, for he thinks that day he does best, when he 
fetches most men over. His daily labour teaches him the art of 
dissembling : for like a fellow that rides to the pillory, he goes 
not that way he looks. He keeps such a bawling at Westminster, 
that if the lawyers were not acquainted with it, an order would 
be taken with him. When he is upon the water, he is fare- 
company : when he comes ashore, he mutinies, and contrary to 
all other trades is most surly to gentlemen, when they tender 
payment. The play-houses* only keep him sober ; and, as it doth 
many other gallants, make him an afternoon's man. London- 
bridge is the most terrible eye-sore to him that can be. And to 
conclude, nothing but a great press makes him fly from the 
river ; nor any thing, but a great frost, can teach him any good 

Sir Thomas Overbury, Characters 1614. — 16 

London Bridge 
The bridge at London is worthily to be numbered among 
the miracles of the world, if men respect the building and 
foundation laid artificially and stately over an ebbing and 
flowing water upon 21 piles of stone, with 20 arches, under 
which barks may pass, the lowest foundation being (as they say) 
packs of wool, most durable against the force of water, and not 

* On the South bank of the river, cp. p. 170. 



to be repaired but upon great fall of the waters and by artificial 
turning or stopping the recourse of them ; or if men respect 
the houses built upon the bridge, as great and high as those of 
the firm land, so as a man cannot know that he passeth a bridge, 
but would judge himself to be in the street, save that the houses 
on both sides are combined in the top, making the passage 
somewhat dark, and that in some few open places the river of 
Thames may be seen on both sides. 

Fynes Moryson, Itinerary 1617 

It IS almost art's wonder for strength, length, beauty, 
wideness, height : it may be said to be polypus, because it is so 
well furnished with legs : every mouth is four times filled in 
eight and forty hours, and then as a child it is still, but as soon 
as they be empty, like a lion it roars, and is wondrous impatient : 
it is made of iron, wood and stone, and therefore it is a wondrous 
hardy fellow. It hath changed the form, but as few do now-a- 
days, from worse to better : certainly it is full of patience, 
because it bears so much and continually. It's no prison, for any 
one goes through it : it is something addicted to pride, for many 
a great man goes under it, and yet it seems something humble 
too, for the poorest peasant treads upon it : it hath more 
wonders than arches ; the houses here built are wondrous strong, 
yet they neither stand on land or water. It is some prejudice to 
the waterman's gains; many go over here which otherwise 
should row or sail : it helps many a penniless purse to pass the 
water without danger or charges. Nothing affrights it more 
than spring tides or violent innundations. It is chargeable to 
keep, for it must be continually repaired. It is the only chief 
crosser of the water. His arches out-face the water, and like 
judges in the parliament are placed upon wool-sacks. One that 
lives here need not buy strong water, for here is enough for 
nothing ; it seems to hinder the water-bearers' profit for the 
inhabitants easily supply their wants by buckets. He is a settled 
fellow, and a main upholder of houses ; he is meanly placed, for 
there are divers above him, and many under him, and his houses 
may well be called Nonsuch, for there is none like them. And 
to conclude, he partakes of two elements, his nether parts are 
all for water, his upper for land ; in a word, it is without compare, 
being a dainty street, and a strong and most stately bridge. 
Donald Lupton, London and tlu Qountrey carbonadoed 163* 




My lord, when shall we go to Cheapside and take up commodities upon 
our bills? 2, Henry n.^ iv. vii. 133 

Tis thought the way through this street is not good, because 
so broad and so many go in it 5 yet though it be broad, it's 
very straight, because without any turnings. It is suspected here 
are not many sufficent able men, because they would sell all : 
and but little honesty, for they show all, and, some think, more 
sometime than their own : they are very affable, for they'll 
speak to most that pass by : they care not how few be in the 
streets, so their shops be full : they that bring them money, 
seem to be used worst, for they are sure to pay soundly : their 
books of accounts are not like to their estates, for the latter are 
best without, but the other with, long crosses. There are a great 
company of honest men in this place, if all be gold that glisters : 
their parcel-gilt plate is thought to resemble themselves, most 
of them have better faces than heart ; their monies and coins 
are used as prisoners at sea, kept under hatches. One would 
think them to be good men, for they deal with the purest and 
best metals and every one strives to work best, and stout too, 
for th£y get much by knocking and especially by leaning on 
their elbows. Puritans do hold it for a fine street but something 
addicted to popery, for adorning [adoring ?] the cross too much. 
The inhabitants seem not to affect the standard ; the kings and 
queens would be offended with, and punish them, knew they 
how these batter their faces on their coins. Some of their wives 
would be ill prisoners, for they cannot endure to be shut up ; and 
as bad nuns, the life is so solitary. There are many virtuous and 
honest women, some truly so, others are so for want of 
opportunity. They hold that a harsh place of scripture : That 
women must be no goers or gadders abroad. In going to a 
lecture many use to visit a tavern : the young attendant must 
want his eyes, and change his tongue, according as his mistress 
shall direct, though many times they do mistake the 
place, yet they v/ill remember the time an hour and half, to 
avoid suspicion. Some of the men are cunning launders of 
plate, and get much by washing that plate they handle, and it 
hath come from some of them, like a man from the broker's 
that hath cashiered his cloak, a great deal the lighter. Well, if 



all the men be rich and true, and the women all fair and honest, 
then Cheapside shall stand by Charing Cross for a wonder, and 
I will make no more characters. But I proceed. 

Donald Lupton, London and the Countrey carbonadoed 1632 

A Shop-keeper 
His shop is his well-stuffed book, and himself the title-page 
of it or index. He utters much to all men, though he sells but 
to a few, and intreats for his own necessities by asking others 
what they lack. No man speaks more and no more, for his 
words are like his wares, twenty of one sort, and he goes over 
them alike to all comers. He is an arrogant commender of his 
own things ; for whatsoever he shews you, is the best in the 
town, though the worst in his shop. His conscience was a 
thing that would have laid upon his hands, and he was forced 
to put it off, and makes great use of honesty to profess upon. 
He tells you lies by rote, and not minding, as the phrase to sell 
in and the language he spent most of his years to learn. He 
never speaks so truly, as when he says he would use you as his 
brother, for he would abuse his brother ; and in his shop thinks 
it lawful. His religion is much in the nature of his customers, 
and indeed the pander to it : and by a misinterpreted sense of 
scripture makes a gain of his godliness. He is your slave while 
you pay him ready money, but if he once befriend you, your 
tyrant, and you had better deserve his hate than his trust. 
John Earle, Micro-cosmographie 1628 

PauVs Wdk 

Falstaff. Where's Bardolph ? 

Page. He's gone into Smith field to buy your worship a horse. 
Falstaff. I bought him in Paul's, and he'll buy me a horse in Smith- 
field. 2 Henry IT., i. ii. 54 — 58 

Paul's Walk is the land's epitome, oif^-ytJU may call it the 
lesser isle of Great Britain. It is more than this the whole 
world's map, which you may here discern in its perfectest 
motion, jostling and turning. It is a heap of stones and men, 
with a vast confusion of languages, and were the steeple not 
sanctified, nothing liker Babel. The noise in it is like that of 
bees, a strange humming or buzz, mixed of walking, tongues 
and feet. It is a kind of still roar or loud whisper. It is the 



great exchange of all discourse, and no business whatsoever but 
is here stirring and afoot. It is the synod of all pates politic, 
jointed and laid together in most serious posture, and they are 
not half so busy at the parliament. It is the antic of tails to 
tails, and backs to backs, and for vizards you need go no further 
than faces. It is the market of young lecturers, whom you 
may cheapen here at all rates and sizes. It is the general 
mint of all famous lies, which are here, like the legends of popery, 
first coined and stamped in the church. All inventions are 
emptied here, and not few pockets. The best sign of a temple 
in it is that it is the thieves' sanctuary, which rob more safely 
in the crowd than a wilderness, whilst every searcher is a bush 
to hide them. It is the other expense of the day, after plays, 
tavern, and a bawdy-house ; and men have still some oaths 
left to swear here. It is the ears' brothel and satisfies their 
lust and itch. The visitants are all men without excep- 
tions, but the principal inhabitants and possessors are stale 
knights, and captains out of service, men of long rapiers and 
breeches, which after all turn merchants here, and traffic for 
news. Some make it a preface to their dinner, and travel for 
a stomach : but thriftier men make it their ordinary, and 
board here very cheap. Of all such places it is least haunted 
with hobgoblins, for if a ghost would walk more, he could not. 
John Earle, Micro-cosmographie 1628 

TTis Noise and Bustle of the Streets 

Why sweat they under burdens ? 

The Merchant of Venice^ iv. \. 94 

In every street, carts and coaches make such a thimdering as 
if the world ran upon wheels : at every corner, men, women and 
children meet in such shoals, that posts are set up of purpose to 
strengthen the houses, lest with jostling one another they should 
shoulder them down. Besides, hammers are beating in one place, 
tubs hooping in another, pots clinking m a third, water-tankards 
running at tilt in a fourth. Here are porters sweating under 
burdens, their merchant's men bearing bags of money. Chapmen 
(as if they were at leap frog) skip out of one shop into another. 
Tradesmen (as if they were dancing galliards) are lusty at legs 
and never stand still. All are as busy as country attorneys at an 

Thomas Dekker, The Seuen Deadly Sinnes of London 1606 


§ 3. Disorders 

What work's, my countrymen, in hand? where go you 
With bats and clubs? Coriolanus, i. i. 57 

Up Fish Street ! down St Magnus Corner ! kill and knock down ! 
throw them into Thames ! 2 Henry Fl.y iv. viii. i — 3 

A hus^ 'week for ihe aathortties 
Riots outside the theatres 

Right honourable and my very good Lord. Upon Whit- 
sunday there was a very good sermon preached at the new 
churchyard near Bethlehem, whereat my Lord Mayor was with 
his brethren, and, by reason no plays were the same day, all the 
city was quiet. Upon Monday I was at the court and went to 
Kingston to bed and upon Tuesday I kept the law-day for the 
whole liberty of Kingston and found all quiet and in good order. 
There lieth in Kingston Sir John Savage of Cheshire with his 
lady at Mr Le Grises his house, the which is at vicarage. 

That night I returned to London and found all the wards 
full of watchers, the cause thereof was for that very near the 
Theater or Curtain at the time of the plays there lay a prentice 
sleeping upon the grass and one Challes at Grostock did turn 
upon the toe upon the belly of the same prentice, whereupon 
the apprentice start up and after words they fell to plain blows. 
The company increased of both sides to the number of five 
hundred at the least. This Challes exclaimed and said that he 
was a gentleman and that the apprentice was but a rascal, and 
some there were little better than rogues that took upon them 
the name of gentlemen, and said the prentices were but the 
scum of the world. Upon these troubles the prentices began 
the next day being Tuesday to make mutinies and assemblies, 
and did conspire to have broken the prisons and to have taken 
forth the prentices that were imprisoned, but my lord and 
I having intelligence thereof apprehended four or fire of the 
chief conspirators, who are in Newgate and stand indicted of 
their lewd demeanours. 

Upon Wednesday one Browne a serving-man in a blue 
coat, a shifting fellow, having a perilous wit of his own, in- 
tending a spoie [?] if he could have brought it to pass, did at 
Theater door quarrel with certain poor boys, handicraft 
prentices, and struck some of them and lastly he with his 



sword wounded and maimed one of the boys upon the left 
hand, whereupon there assembled near a thousand people. 
This Browne did very cunningly convey himself away, but 
by chance he was taken after and brought to Mr Humphrey 
Smith, and because no man was able to charge him he dismissed 
him. And after this Browne was brought before Mr Young, 
where he used himself so cunningly and subtly, no man being 
there to charge him, that there also he was dismissed. And 
after I sent a warrant for him, and the constables with the 
deputy at the Bell in Holborn found him in a parlour fast 
locked in ; and he would not obey the warrant, but by the mean 
of the host he was conveyed away ; and then I sent for the host 
and caused him to appear at Newgate at the sessions oyer and 
determiner, where he was committed until he brought forth 
his guest. The next day after he brought him forth and so we 
indicted him for his misdemeanor. This Browne is a common 
cozener, a thief and a horse stealer, and coloured all his doings 
here about this town with a suit that he hath in the law against 
a brother of his in Staffordshire. He resteth now in Newgate. 

Upon the same Wednesday at night two companions, one 
being a tailor and the other a clerk of the common pleas, both 
of the duchy and both very lewd fellows, fell out about an 
harlot, and the tailor raised the prentices and other light 
persons and, thinking that the clerk was run into Lyon's Inn, 
came to the house with three hundred at the least, brake down 
the windows of the house, and struck at the gentlemen, during 
which broil one Randolds a baker's son came into Fleet street and 
there made solemn proclamation for " clubs." The street rose 
and took and brought him unto me and the next day we 
indicted him also for this misdemeanour with many other more. 

Upon Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday we did 
nothing else but sit in commission and examine these mis- 
demeanours : we had good help of my lord Anderson and 
Mr Sackforth. 

Upon Sunday my lord sent two aldermen to the court for 
the suppressing and pulling down of the Theater and Curtain. 
All the lords agreed thereunto saving my Lord Chamberlain 
and Mr Vizch, but we obtained a letter to suppress them all. 
Upon the same night I sent for the Queen's players and my 
lord of Arundel his players, and they all willingly obeyed the 



lords' letters. The chiefest of her highness' players advised me 
to send for the owner of the Theater who was a stubborn fellow 
and to bind him. I did so. He sent me word that he was my 
lord of Hunsdon's man and that he would not come at me but 
he would in the morning ride to my lord. Then I sent the 
undersherifF for him and he brought him to me, and at his 
coming he stouted me out very hasty, and in the end I shewed 
him my lord his master's hand and then he was more quiet, 
but to die for it he would not be bound. And then I minding 
to send him to prison, he made suit that he might be bound to 
appear at the oyer and determiner the which is to-morrow, 
where he said that he was sure the court would not bind him 
being a councillor's man. And so I have granted his request, 
where he shall be sure to be bound or else is like to do worse. 
William Fleetwood, City Recorder, to Lord Burghley, June i8, 1584 

DuelUng and street bra<wUng 

Tybalt. What wouldst thou have with me ? 

Mercutio. Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives, 
that I mean to make bold withal, and, as you shall use me hereafter, 
dry-beat the rest of the eight. Will you pluck your $word out of his 
pilcher by the ears? make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it 
be out. 

Tybalt (draiving). I am for you. 

Romeo. Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up. 

Mercutio. Come, sir, your passado. IThey Jight."] 

Romeo and Juliet^ in. i, 81 — 90 

Englishmen, especially being young and unexperienced, are 
apt to take all things in snuff. Of old, when they were fenced 
with bucklers, as with a rampier, nothing was more common 
with them, than to fight about taking the right or left hand, or 
the wall, or upon any unpleasing countenance. Clashing of 
swords was then daily music in every street, and they did not 
only fight combats, but cared not to set upon their enemy upon 
advantages and unequal terms. But at this day when no 
nation labours more than the English (as well by travelling 
into foreign kingdoms, as by the study of good letters, and by 
other means) to enrich their minds with all virtues, I say in 
these days, they scorn such men, and esteem them of an idle 
brain who for ridiculous or trifling causes run the trial of 



single fight, and howsoever they behave themselves stoutly 
therein, yet they repute them to have lost as much opinion of 
wisdom, as they have gained of daring. Much more do they 
despise them who quarrel and fight in the streets publicly, 
and do not rather make private trial of their difference, as also 
those who make quarrels with men of base condition, yea they 
think them infamous who with disparity of number do many 
assail one man, and for this beastly quality, comparing them to 
hogs, whereof, when one grunts, all the herd comes to help 
him, they think them worthy of any punishment : besides that 
upon killing any man mercy is seldom or never shewed them, 
howsoever in other fair combats the prince's mercy hath many 
times given life to the man-slayer. And the cause why single 
fights are more rare in England in these times is the dangerous 
fight at single rapier, together with the confiscation of man- 
slayers' goods. So as I am of opinion, contrary to the vulgar, 
and think them worthy of praise who invented dangerous 
weapons, as rapiers, pistols, guns and gunpowder, since the 
invention whereof much smaller number of men hath perished 
by single fights or open war than in former times : and con- 
quests and such inundations of barbarous people, as were those 
of the Goths, Huns and Longbards, are much less to be feared. 
Nothing did in old time more animate strong tyrants and giants 
to oppress weaker men than the huge weight of their clubs 
and of their arms, wherewith Goliath had easily quelled David, 
if God had not put in his mind to fight against him with a new 
kind of weapon more suitable to his strength. I return to the 
purpose, and do freely profess, that in case of single fights in 
England, the magistrate doth favour a wronged stranger more 
than one of the same nation, howsoever the law favours neither, 
and that a stranger, so fighting, need fear no treason by any 
disparity or otherwise. But in the mean time, here and in all 
places happy are the peaceable. Let me add one thing of 
corrupt custom in England, that those who are not grown 
men, never have the opinion of valour, till in their youth they 
have gained it with some single fight, which done, they shall 
after live more free from quarrels : but it were to be wished 
that a better way were found to preserve reputation than this 
of single fights, as well contrary to the law of God, as a capital 
crime by the laws of men. Fynes Moryson, Itinerarji 1617 



Consiahles and Watchmen 

Dogberry. This is your charge: you shall comprehend all vagrom 
men ; you are to bid any man stand, in the prince's name. 

Watchman How, if a' will not stand ? 

Dogberry. Why, then take no note of him, but let him go ; and 
presently call the rest of the watch together, and thank God you are 
rid of a knave. 

Verges. If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none of the 
prince's subjects. 

Dogberry. True, and they are to meddle with none but the prince's 
subjects. You shall also make no noise in the streets : for, for the watch 
to babble and to talk is most tolerable and not to be endured. 

Second Watchman. We will rather sleep than talk : we know what 
belongs to a watch. 

Dogberry. Why, you speak like an ancient and most quiet watchman, 
for I cannot see how sleeping should offend ; only have a care that your 
bills be not stolen. Much Ado About Nothing, in. iii. 25 — 45 

Uxor. What number of men in harness are these ? Some 
sleeping, and many of them seemeth to go whispering together, 
and behind them there appeareth other men putting forth their 
heads out of corners, wearing no harness. 

Civis. These are not only the constables with the watchmen 
in London, but also almost through this realm, most falsely 
abusing the time, coming very late to the watch, sitting down 
in some common place of watching, wherein some falleth on 
sleep by the reason of labour or much drinking before, or else 
nature requireth rest in the night. These fellows think every 
hour a thousand until they go home, home, home, every man 
to bed. Good night, good night ! God save the Queen ! sayeth 
the constables, farewell, neighbours. Eftsoons after their de- 
parting creepeth forth the wild rogue and his fellows, having 
two or three other harlots for their turn, with picklocks, 
handsaws, long hooks, ladders, &c., to break into houses, rob, 
murder, steal, and do all mischief in the houses of true men, 
utterly undoing honest people to maintain their harlots. Great 
hoses, lined cloaks, long daggers, and feathers, these must be 
paid for, &c. This cometh for want of punishment by the 
day, and idle watch in the night. God grant that some of the 
watch be not the scouts to the thieves. Yes ; God grant that 
some men have not conspirators of thieves in their own houses, 



which, like Judases, deceive their masters. If this watch be 
not better looked unto, good wife, in every place in this realm, 
and all the night long searching every suspected corner, no 
man shall be able to keep a penny, no, scant his own life in 
a while. For they that dare attempt such matters in the city 
of London, what will they do in houses smally guarded, or by 
the highway? Yet there is much execution, but it helpeth 
not. It is the excess of apparel. Hose, hose, great hose ! too 
little wages, too many serving-men, too many tippling-houses, 
too many drabs, too many knaves, too little labour, too much 
William Bullein, A Dialogue against the Pestilence 1573 (ist ed. 1564) 

London at Night 

When the searching eye of heaven is hid 
Behind the globe, and lights the lower world, 
Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen, 
In murders, and in outrage bloody here. 

Richard 11.^ in. ii. 37 — 40 

How far that little candle throws his beams ! 
So shines a good deed in a naughty world. 

The Merchant of Venice^ v. i. 90 — 91 

An arraignment of candle-light 

O Candle-light ! and art thou one of the cursed crew ? hast 
thou been set at the table of princes, and noblemen ? have all 
sorts of people done reverence unto thee, and stood bare so 
soon as ever they have seen thee? have thieves, traitors, and 
murderers been afraid to come in thy presence, because they 
knew thee just, and that thou wouldest discover them? and 
art thou now a harbourer of all kinds of vices ? nay, dost thou 
play the capital Vice thyself? 

Hast thou had so many learned lectures read before thee, and 
is the light of thy understanding now clean put out? And have 
so many profound scholars profited by thee ? hast thou done such 
good to universities, been such a guide to the lame, and seen 
the doing of so many good works, yet dost thou now look 
dimly and with a dull eye upon all goodness ? What comfort 
have sick men taken (in weary and irksome nights) but only in 
thee? Thou hast been their physician and apothecary, and when 

W. G 97 


the relish of nothing could please them, the very shadow of 
thee hath been to them a restorative consolation. The nurse 
hath stilled her wayward infant, shewing it but to thee. What 
gladness hast thou put into mariners' bosoms, when thou hast 
met them on the sea? What joy into the faint and benighted 
traveller when he has met thee on the land? How many 
poor handicraftsmen by thee have earned the best part of their 
living? And art thou now become a companion for drunkards, 
for lechers, and for prodigals ? Art thou turned reprobate ? Thou 
wilt burn for it in hell. And so odious is this thy apostacy, 
and hiding thyself from the light of the truth, that at thy death 
and going out of the world, even they that love thee best will 
tread thee under their feet: yea I that have thus played the 
herald, and proclaimed thy good parts, will now play the crier 
and call thee into open court, to arraign thee for thy mis- 

Let the world therefore understand, that this tallow-faced 
gentleman (called Candle-light) so soon as ever the sun was 
gone out of sight, and that darkness like a thief out of a hedge 
crept upon the earth, sweat till he dropped again with bustling 
to come into the city. For having no more but one only eye 
(and that fiery red with drinking and sitting up late) he was 
ashamed to be seen by day, knowing he should be laughed to 
scorn and hooted at. He makes his entrance therefore at 
Aldersgate of set purpose, for though the street be fair and 
spacious, yet, few lights in misty evenings using there to thrust 
out their golden heads, he thought that the aptest circle for 
him to be raised in, because there his glittering would make 
greatest show. 

What expectation was there of his coming ? Setting aside 
the bonfires, there is not more triumphing on midsummer 
night. No sooner was he advanced up into the most famous 
streets, but a number of shops for joy began to shut in : mercers 
rolled up their silks and velvets : the goldsmiths drew back 
their plate, and all the city looked like a private play-house, 
when the windows are clapped down, as if some nocturnal, or 
dismal tragedy were presently to be acted before all the trades- 
men. But Cavaleiro Candle-light came for no such solemnity : 
no, he had other crackers in hand to which he watched but his 
hour to give fire. Scarce was his entrance blown abroad, but 



the bankrupt, the felon, and all that owed any money, and for 
fear of arrests or justices' warrants had, like so many snails, 
kept their houses over their heads all the day before, began 
now to creep out of their shells, and to stalk up and down the 
streets as uprightly, and with as proud a gait as if they meant 
to knock against the stars with the crowns of their heads. 

The damask-coated citizen, that sat in his shop both 
forenoon and afternoon, and looked more sourly on his poor 
neighbours than if he had drunk a quart of vinegar at a 
draught, sneaks out of his own doors and slips into a tavern, 
where either alone, or with some other that battles their money 
together, they so ply themselves with penny pots, which (like 
small-shot) go off, pouring into their fat paunches, that at 
length they have not an eye to see withal, nor a good leg to stand 
upon. In which pickle if any of them happen to be jostled 
down by a post (that in spite of them will take the wall) and so 
reels them into the kennel, who takes them up or leads them 
home? who has them to bed, and with a pillow smooths this 
stealing so of good liquor, but that brazen-face Candle-light? 
Nay more, he entices their very prentices to make their desperate 
sallies out and quick retires in (contrary to the oath of their 
indentures which are seven years a-swearing) only for their 
pints, and away. 

Tush, this is nothing! young shopkeepers that have but 
newly ventured upon the pikes of marriage, who are every hour 
shewing their wares to their customers, plying their business 
harder all day than Vulcan does his anvil, and seem better 
husbands than fiddlers that scrape for a poor living both day and 
night, yet even these if they can but get Candle-light to sit up 
all night with them in any house of reckoning (that's to say in 
a tavern) they fall roundly to play the London prize, and that's 
at three several weapons, drinking, dancing, and dicing; their 
wives lying all that time in their beds sighing like widows, 
which is lamentable: the giddy-brained husbands wasting the 
portions they had with them, which lost once, they are (like 
maiden-heads) never recoverable. Or which is worse, this 
going a-bat-fowling a-nights being noted by some wise young 
man or other that knows how to handle such cases, the bush 
is beaten for them at home, whilst they catch the bird abroad. 
But what bird is it? the woodcock. 

G2 99 


Never did any city pocket up such wrong at the hands of 
one over whom she is so jealous and so tender, that in winter 
nights if he be but missing and hide himself in the dark, 
I know not how many beadles are sent up and down the 
streets to cry him : yet you see, there is more cause she should 
send out to curse him. For what villanies are not abroad so 
long as Candle-light is stirring? The serving-man dare then 
walk with his wench : the private punk (otherwise called one 
that boards in London) who like a pigeon sits billing all day 
within doors and fears to step over the threshold, does then 
walk the round till midnight, after she hath been swaggering 
amongst pottle-pots and vintners' boys. Nay, the sober per- 
petuana-suited puritan, that dares not (so much as by moon- 
light) come near the suburb-shadow of a house where they set 
stewed prunes before you, raps as boldly at the hatch, when he 
knows Candle-light is within, as if he were a new chosen constable. 
When all doors are locked up, when no eyes are open, when 
birds sit silent in bushes, and beasts lie sleeping under hedges, 
when no creature can be smelt to be up but they that may be 
smelt every night a street's length ere you come at them, even 
then doth this ignis fatuus (Candle-light) walk like a fire-drake 
into sundry corners. If you will not believe this, shoot but 
your eye through the iron grates into the cellars of vintners, 
there you shall see him hold his neck in a gin, made of a cleft 
hoop-stick, to throttle him from telling tales, whilst they most 
abominably jumble together all the papistical drinks that are 
brought from beyond-sea: the poor wines are racked and made 
to confess any thing: the Spanish and the French meeting both 
in the bottom of the cellar, conspire together in their cups, to 
lay the Englishman (if he ever come into their company) under 
the board. To be short, such strange mad music do they play 
upon their sack-butts, that if Candle-light being overcome with the 
steam of new sweet wines, when they are at work, should not tell 
them 'tis time to go to bed, they would make all the hogsheads 
that use to come to the house to dance the canaries till they reel 
again. When the grape-mongers and he are parted, he walks 
up and down the streets squireing old midwives to any house 
(very secretly) where any bastards are to be brought into the 
world. From them (about the hour when spirits walk and 
cats go a-gossiping) he visits the watch, where creeping into 


the beadle's cothouse (which stands betWe*eh*hiV legs, that are 
lapped about with pieces of rug, as if he had new struck off 
shackles) and seeing the watchmen to nod at him, he hides 
himself presently (knowing the token) under the flap of a gown, 
and teaches them (by instinct) how to steal naps into their 
heads, because he sees all their cloaks have not one good nap 
upon them : and upon his warrant snort they so loud, that to those 
night-walkers (whose wits are up so late) it serves as a watch-word 
to keep out of the reach of their brown bills : by which means they 
never come to answer the matter before master constable, and 
the bench upon which his men (that should watch) do sit: so 
that the counters are cheated of prisoners, to the great damage 
of those that should have their morning's draught out of the 

O Candle-light, Candle-light! to how many costly sack- 
possets, and rear-banquets hast thou been invited by prentices and 
kitchen-maidens? When the bell-man for anger to spite [spy?] 
such a purloiner of so many citizens' goods, hath bounced at 
the door like a madman ; at which (as if Robin Good-fellow 
had been conjured up amongst them) the wenches have fallen 
into the hands of the green-sickness, and the young fellows 
into cold agues, with very fear lest their master (like old 
Jeronimo and Isabella his wife after him) starting out of his 
naked bed should come down with a weapon in his hand 
and this in his mouth: "What out-cries pull us from our naked 
bed? Who calls? &c." as the players can tell you. O Candle- 
light, how hast thou stunk then, when they have popped thee out 
of their company; how hast thou taken it in snuff, when thou 
hast been smelt out, especially the master of the house exclaiming, 
that by day that deed of darkness had not been. One veney 
more with thee, and then I have done. 

How many lips have been worn out with kissing at the 
street door or in the entry, in a winking blind evening ? How 
many odd matches and uneven marriages have been made 
there between young prentices and their masters' daughters, 
whilst thou (O Candle-light) hast stood watching at the stair's 
head, that none could come stealing down by thee, but they 
must be seen ? 

It appears by these articles put in against thee, that thou 
art partly a bawd to diverse loose sins, and partly a cozener. 
For if any in the city have bad wares lying dead upon their 



hands, thou' ait better than (ff^wfl vitae to fetch life into them, 
and to send them packing. Thou shalt therefore be taken out 
of thy proud chariot, and be carted. Yet first will we see what 
workmanship and what stuff it is made of, to the intent that if 
it be not dangerous for a city to keep any relic belonging to 
such a crooked saint, it may be hung up as a monument to 
shew with what dishonour thou wert driven out of so noble 
a lodging, to deface whose buildings thou hast been so envious, 
that when thou hast been left alone by any thing that would 
take fire, thou hast burnt to the ground many of her goodliest 

Candle-light's coach is made all of horn, shaven as thin as 
changelings are. It is drawn (with ease) by two rats : the 
coachman is a chandler, who so sweats with yerking them, 
that he drops tallow, and that feeds them as provender : yet 
are the lashes that he gives the squeaking vermin more deadly 
to them than all the ratsbane in Bucklersbury. Painfulness 
and Study are his two lackeys and run by him : Darkness, Con- 
spiracy, Opportunity, Stratagems and Fear, are his attendants : 
he's sued unto by diggers in mines, gravers, scholars, mariners, 
nurses, drunkards, unthrifts and shrode husbands : he destroys 
that which feeds him, and therefore Ingratitude comes behind 
all this, driving them before her. 

Thomas Dekker, The Seuen Deadly Sinnes of London 1606 

§ 4. Temptations 

Polonius. Such wanton, wild and usual slips 

As are companions noted and most known 
To youth and liberty. 

Reynaldo. As gaming, my lord ? 

Polonius. Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling, 

Drabbing. Hamlet, 11. i. Z2 — zS 

A. Drink 

Its effects, {a) Falstaff^s ophiion 

A good sherris-sack hath a two-fold operation in it. It 
ascends me into the brain ; dries me there all the foolish and dull 

Und crud y vapours wKicft en viron it ; makes it apprehen sive, 
f]nHr7'Tnr;;nnx ti^Jt ^^ nimbie ^ tiery and de lectable shapes ; 

^TCliTT!lT7^3eIiverM o'er to the voice, the tongue, whic¥ Is the 






birth, becomes excellent wit. The second property of your 
exccllent~~sherris is, the waiming of the blood ; which, before 
cold and settled, left the liver wTTite an3"paTe, which is the 
badge of pusillanimity and cowardice : but the sherris warms 
it and makes it course from the inwards to the parts extreme. 
It illumineth the face, which, as a beacon, gives warning to all 
the rest of this little kingdom, man, to arm ; and then the vital 
commoners and inland petty spirits muster me all to their 
captain, the heart, who, great and puiFed up with this retinue, 
doth any deed of courage ; and this valour comes of sherris. 
So that skill in the weapon is nothing without sack, for that sets 
it a- work ; and learning, a mere hoard of gold kept by a devil 
till sack commences it and sets it in act and use. Hereof comes 
it that Prince Harry is valiant ; for the cold blood he did 
naturally inherit of his father, he hath, like lean, sterile, and bare 
land, manured, husbanded, and tilled, with excellent endeavour 
of drinking good and good store of fertile sherris, that he is 
become very hot and valiant. If I had a thousand sons, the 
first human principle I would teach them should be, to for- 
swear thin potations and to addict themselves to sack. 

z Henry ir.f iv. iii. 103 — 136 

{b) A puritan* s opinion 

Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more 
cakes and ale? Tiuelfth Nighty 11. iii. 123 

Spudeus. You spake of drunkenness, what say you of that ? 

Philoponus, I say that it is a horrible vicej^^aiidjLQalQfijIiUch 
used in Ailgna [England]. Every country, city, town, village 
and other places hath abundance of alehouses, taverns and inns, 
which are so fraugh^' with malt-worms, night and day, that you 
would wonder to see them. You shall have them there sitting 
at the wine and good-ale all the day long, yea, all the night 
too, peradventure a whole week together, so long as any money 
is left ; swilling, gulling and carousing from one to another, till 
never a one can speak a ready word. Then, when with the 
spirit of the buttery they are thus possessed, a world it is to 
consider their gestures and demeanours, one towards another 
and towards every one else. How they stut and stammer, 
stagger and reel to and fro like madmen... .and which is 



most horrible, some fall to swearing, cursing and banning, 
interlacing their speeches with curious terms of blasphemy, to 
the great dishonour of God, and offence of the godly ears 

Sp, But they will say that God ordained wines and strong 
drinks to cheer the heart and to sustain the body withal, there- 
fore it is lawful to use them to that end. 

Philo. Meats (moderately taken) corroborate the body, 
refresh the arteries and revive the spirits, making them apter, 
every member, to do his office as God hath appointed ; but 
being immoderately taken (as commonly they be), they are 
instruments of damnation to the abusers of the same, and 
nourish not the body, but corrupt it rather, casting it into 
a world of diseases. And a man once drunk with wine or 
strong drink rather resembleth a brute beast than a Christian 
man. For do not his eyes begin to stare and to be red, fiery and 
bleared, blubbering forth seas of tears ? Doth he not froth and 
foam at the mouth like a boar ? Doth not his tongue falter and 
stammer in his mouth ? Doth not his head seem as heavy as a 
millstone, he not being able to bear it up ? Are not his wits 
and spirits, as it were, drowned ? Is not his understanding 
altogether decayed ? Do not his hands, and all his body vibrate, 
quaver and shake, as it were, with a quotidian fever ? Besides 
these, it casteth him into a dropsy or pleurisy, nothing so soon ; 
it enfeebleth the sinews, it weakeneth the natural strength, 
it corrupteth the blood, it dissolveth the whole man at the 
length, and finally maketh him forgetful of himself altogether, 
so that what he doth being drunk, he remembreth not being 
sober. The drunkard, in his drunkenness, killeth his friend, 
revileth his lover, discloseth secrets, and regardeth no man. 
He either expelleth all fear of God out of his mind, all love of 
his friends and kinsfolks, all remembrance of honesty, civility, 
and humanity ; so that I will not fear to call drunkards beasts, 
and no men ; and much worse than beasts, for beasts never 
exceed in any such kind of excess or superfluity, but alway 
modum adhibent appetituiy they measure their appetites by the 
rule of necessity, which, would God, we would do. 

Philip Stubbes, The Anatomie of Abuses 1583 (and ed.) 



A fearful example 

If all that hath been said hitherto, be not sufficient to with- 
draw us from this beastly vice of drunkenness : yet let us set 
before our eyes this most fearful judgment of God, executed 
upon a sort of drunkards, the story whereof is this. The eighth 
day of February 1578 in the country of Swaben, there were 
dwelling eight men, citizens, and citizens' sons, very riotously 
and prodigally inclined, the names of whom, for the better 
credit of the story, I have set down, viz. Adam Giebens, George 
Kepell, John Keisell, Peter Hersdorse, John Waganaer, Simon 
Henrickes, Herman Fron, Jacob Hermans, all which would 
needs go to the tavern upon the Sabbath day in the morning 
very early, in contempt of the Lord and his Sabbath. And 
coming to the house of one Anthony Hage, an honest, godly 
man, who kept a tavern in the same town, called for burnt 
wine, sack, malmsey, hippocras and what not. The host told 
them, that they should have none of all these, before the divine 
service and the sermon time were past, and counselled them to 
go hear the sacred word of God preached. But they (save 
Adam Giebens, who advised them to hear the sermon, for fear 
of God's wrath) denied, saying : That they loathed that kind of 
exercise. The good host, neither giving them any wine him- 
self, nor suffering any other, went to the sermon, as duty did 
bind him, who being gone, they fell to cursing, banning, and 
swearing, wishing that he might break his neck, or ever he 
came again from the sermon ; and bursting forth into these 
intemperate speeches, " The Devil break our necks, if we depart 
hence this day, either quick or dead, till we have had some 
wine!" Straightway, the Devil appeared, unto them, in the 
likeness of a young man, bringing in his hand a flagon of wine, 
and demanding of them why they caroused not, he drank unto 
them, saying: "Good fellows, be merry, for ye shall have wine 
enough, for you seem lusty lads, and I hope you will pay me 
well," who inconsiderately answered, that they would pay him, 
or else they would gage their necks, yea their bodies and souls, 
rather than to fail. Thus they continued swilling, gulling, and 
carousing so long, as till one could not see another. At the 
last the Devil their host, told them, that they must needs pay 
the shot, whereat their hearts waxed cold. But the Devil 



comforting them, said : " Be of good cheer, for now must you 
drink boiling lead, pitch and brimstone with me in the pit of 
hell for evermore." Hereupon immediately he made their eyes 
like flames of fire, and in breadth as broad as saucers. Then 
began they to call for mercy, but it was too late. And ere they 
could call again for mercy and grace, the Devil prevented them, 
and break their necks asunder, and threw most horrible flames 
of fire, flashing out of their mouths. And thus ended these 
seven drunkards their miserable days, whose judgment I leave 
to the Lord. The other Adam Giebens, who counselled them 
before to go to hear the sermon, having some sparks of faith in 
him, was preserved from death, by the great mercy of God, and 
greatly repented his former life, yielding praise unto God for his 
deliverance. Thus have I in sempiternam rei memoriam^ faith- 
fully recorded the story of these eight drunkards, and of their 
fearful end, taken out of the Dutch copy printed at Amsterdam, 
and at Strasbourg, for a caveat to all drunkards, gluttons, and 
riotous persons throughout the whole world, that they offend 
not the Lord in the like kind of offence. 

Philip Stubbes, The Anatomie of Abuses 1583 (2nd ed.) 


Here's a pot of good double beer, neighbour. 

2 Henry n., 11. iii. 63 

Mistress Quickly. By this heavenly ground I tread on, I must be fain 
to pawn both my plate and the tapestry of my dining-chambers. 

Talstaff. Glasses, glasses, is the only drinking: and for thy walls, 
a pretty slight drollery, or the story of the Prodigal, or the German 
hunting in water-work, is worth a thousand of these bed-hangings and 
these fly-bitten tapestries. % Henry IV.^ 11. i. 156 — 163 

If these houses have a box-bush, or an old post, it is enough 
to show their profession. But if they be graced with a sign 
complete, it's a sign of good custom. In these houses you shall 
see the history of Judith, Susanna, Daniel in the lions* den, or 
Dives and Lazarus painted upon the wall. It may be reckoned 
a wonder to see or find the house empty, for either the parson, 
churchwarden, or clerk, or all are doing some church or court 
business usually in this place. They thrive best where there 
are fewest : it is the host's chiefest pride to be speaking of such 



a gentleman, or such a gallant that was here, and will be again 
ere long. Hot weather and thunder, and want of company are 
the hostess's grief, for then her ale sours. Your drink usually 
is very young, two days old : her chiefest wealth is seen, if she 
can have one brewing under another : if either the hostess, or 
her daughter, or maid will kiss handsomely at parting, it is a 
good shoeing-horn or birdlime to draw the company thither 
again the sooner. She must be courteous to all, though not by 
nature, yet by her profession ; for she must entertain all, good 
and bad, tag and rag, cut and long-tail. She suspects tinkers 
and poor soldiers most, not that they will not drink soundly, 
but that they will not pay lustily. She must keep touch with 
three sorts of men ; that is, the malt-man, the baker, and the 
justice's clerks. She is merry, and half mad, upon Shrove 
Tuesday, May days, feast days, and morris-dances : a good ring 
of bells in the parish helps her to many a tester ; she prays the 
parson may not be a puritan : a bagpiper, and a puppet-play 
brings her in birds that are flush, she defies a wine tavern as an 
upstart outlandish fellow, and suspects the wine to be poisoned. 
Her ale, if new, looks like a misty morning, all thick ; well, if 
her ale be strong, her reckoning right, her house clean, her fire 
good, her face fair, and the town great or rich, she shall seldom 
or never sit without chirping birds to bear her company, and at 
the next churching or christening, she is sure to be rid of two 
or three dozen of cakes and ale by gossiping neighbours. 

Donald Lupton, London and the Countrey carbonadoed 1632 

A Tavern 

Falstaff's reckoning. 

Item, A capon ... ... ... zs. %d. 

Item, Sauce ... ... ... ... ^d. 

Item, Sack, two gallons s^. Zd. 

Item, Anchovies and sack after supper zs. 6d. 
Item, Bread ... ... ... ... ob. 

1 Henry 7^., 11. iv. 593 — 598 

A tavern is a degree, or (if you will) a pair of stairs above an 
alehouse, where men are drunk with more credit and apology. 
If the vintner's nose be at door, it is a sign sufficient, but the 
absence of this is supplied by the ivy bush. The rooms are ill 
breathed, like the drinkers that have been washed well over- 



night, and are smelt too fasting next morning.... It is a broacher 
of more news than hogsheads, and more jests than news, which 
are sucked up here by some spongy brain, and from thence 
squeezed into a comedy. Men come here to make merry, but 
indeed make a noise, and this music above is answered with the 
clinking below. The drawers are the civ'ilest people in it, men 
of good bringing up, and howsoever we esteem of them, none 
can boast more justly of their high calling. 'Tis the best 
theatre of natures, where they are truly acted, not played, and 
the business, as in the rest of the world, up and down, to wit, 
from the bottom of the cellar to the great chamber. A 
melancholy man would find here matter to work upon, to 
see heads as brittle as glasses, and often broken. Men come 
hither to quarrel, and come hither to be made friends ; and if 
Piutarch will lend me his simile, it is even Telephus his sword 
that makes wounds and cures them. It is the common con- 
sumption of the afternoon, and the murderer or maker away of 
a rainy day. It is the Torrid Zone that scorches the face, and 
tobacco the gun-powder that blows it up. Much harm would 
be done, if the charitable vintner had not water ready for these 
flames. A house of sin you may call it, but not a house of 
darkness, for the candles are never out, and it is like those 
countries far in the north, where it is as clear at mid-night as 
at mid-day.... To give you the total reckoning of it: it is the 
busy man's recreation, the idle man's business, the melancholy 
man's sanctuary, the stranger's welcome, the Inns of Court 
man's entertainment, the scholar's kindness, and the citizen's 
courtesy. It is the study of sparkling wits, and a cup of canary 
their book, where we leave them. 

John Earle, Micro-cosmographie 1628 

Shakespeare and Ben Jonson at the Mermaid Tavern 

Many were the wit-combats betwixt him and Ben Jonson ; 
which two I behold like a Spanish great galleon and an English 
man-of-war. Master Jonson (like the former) was built far 
higher in learning ; solid, but slow, in his performances. 
Shakespeare, with the English man-of-war, lesser in bulk, but 
lighter in sailing, could turn with all tides, tack about, and take 
advantage of all winds, by the quickness of his wit and 

Thomas Fuller, English Worthtei i66» 



The Sobriety of the English [two views) 

lago. Some wine, ho ! 

And let me the canakin clink, clink j 
And let me the canakin clink: 
A soldier's a man ; 
A life's but a span ; 
Why then let a soldier drink. 
Some wine, boys! 

Cassia. 'Fore God, an excellent song. 

lago. I learned it in England, where indeed they are most potent in 
potting ; your Dane, your German, and your swag-bellied Hollander, — 
drink, ho! — are nothing to your English. Othello, ii. iii. 71 — 82 

For the point of drinking, the English at the feast will 
drink two or three healths in remembrance of special friends, 
or respected honourable persons, and in our time some gentle- 
men and commanders from the wars of Netherland brought 
in the custom of the Germans' large carousing, but this 
custom is in our time also in good measure left. Likewise 
in some private gentlemen's houses, and with some captains 
and soldiers, and with the vulgar sort of citizens and artisans, 
large and intemperate drinking is used ; but in general the 
greater and better part of the English, hold all excess blame- 
worthy, and drunkenness a reproachful vice. 

Fynes Moryson, Itinerary 161 7 

B* Tobacco 
A tohacco'seller 
Is the only man that finds the good in it which others 
brag of, but do not j for it is meat, drink, and clothes to 
him. No man opens his ware with greater seriousness, or 
challenges your judgment more in the approbation. His shop 
is the rendezvous of spitting, where men dialogue with their .y 
noses, and their communication is smoke. It is the place only 
where Spain is commended and preferred before England itself. 
He should be well experienced in the world ; for he has daily 
trial of men's nostrils, and none is better acquainted with 
humours. He is the piecing, commonly, of some other trade, 
which is bawd to his tobacco, and that to his wife, which is the 
flame that follows this smoke. 

John Earle, Micro-cosmographie 1628 



Royal disapprobation of tobacco 

How you are by this custom disabled in your goods, let the 
gentry of this land bear witness, some of them bestowing three, 
some four hundred pounds a year upon this precious stink, which 
I am sure might be bestowed upon many far better uses. I read 
indeed of a knavish courtier, who for abusing the favour of the 
emperor Alexander Severus, his master, by taking bribes to 
intercede for sundry persons in his master's ear (for whom he 
never once opened his mouth), was justly choked with smoke, 
with this doom, Fumo pereat^ qui fumum vendidit : but of so 
many smoke-buyers, as are at this present in this kingdom, I 
never read nor heard. 

And for the vanities committed in this filthy custom, is it 
not both great vanity and uncleanness, that at the table, a place 
of respect, of cleanliness, of modesty, men should not be ashamed 
to sit tossing of tobacco pipes, and puffing of the smoke of 
tobacco one to another, making the filthy smoke and stink 
thereof to exhale athwart the dishes, and infect the air, when 
very often men that abhor it are at their repast ? Surely smoke 
becomes a kitchen far better than a dining chamber, and yet it 
makes a kitchen also oftentimes in the inward parts of men, 
soiling and infecting them, with an unctuous and oily kind of 
soot, as hath been found in some great tobacco takers, that 
after their death were opened. And not only meat time, but 
no other time nor action is exempted from the public use of 
this uncivil trick : so as if the wives of Dieppe list to contest 
with this nation for good manners, their worst manners would 
in all reason be found at least not so dishonest (as ours are) in 
this point. The public use whereof, at all times and in all 
places, hath now so far prevailed, as divers men very sound both 
in judgment and complexion, have been at last forced to take 
it also without desire, partly because they were ashamed to 
seem singular (like the two philosophers that were forced to 
duck themselves in that rain water, and so become fools as well 
as the rest of the people), and partly, to be as one that was 
content to eat garlic (which he did not love) that he might not 
be troubled with the smell of it in the breath of his fellows. 
And is it not a great vanity, that a man cannot heartily welcome 
his friend now, but straight they must be in hand with tobacco ? 



No, it is become in place of a cure a point of good fellowship, 
and he that will refuse to take a pipe of tobacco among his 
fellows (though by his own election he would rather feel the 
savour of a sink), is accounted peevish and no good company, 
even as they do with tippling in the cold eastern countries. 
Yea the mistress cannot in a more mannerly kind entertain her 
servant, than by giving him out of her fair hand a pipe of 
tobacco. But herein is not only a great vanity, but a great 
contempt of God's good gifts, that the sweetness of man's 
breath, being a good gift of God, should be wilfully corrupted 
by this stinking smoke, wherein I must confess, it hath too 
strong a virtue : and so that which is an ornament of nature, 
and can neither by any artifice be at the first acquired, nor 
once lost, be recovered again, shall be filthily corrupted with 
an incurable stink, which vile quality is as directly contrary to 
that wrong opinion which is holden of the wholesomeness 
thereof, as the venom of putrifaction is contrary to the virtue 

Moreover, which is a great iniquity and against all humanity, 
the husband shall not be ashamed to reduce thereby his delicate, 
wholesome, and clean complexioned wife to that extremity, 
that either she must also corrupt her sweet breath therewith, or 
else resolve to live in a perpetual stinking torment. 

Have you not reason then to be ashamed, and to forbear 
this filthy novelty, so basely grounded, so foolishly received and 
so grossly mistaken in the right use thereof? In your abuse 
thereof sinning against God, harming yourselves both in persons 
and goods, and raking [? taking] also thereby the marks and 
notes of vanity upon you : by the custom thereof making 
yourselves to be wondered at by all foreign civil nations, and 
by all strangers that come among you, to be scorned and 
contemned. A custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the 
nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the 
black stinking fume thereof nearest resembling the horrible 
Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomless. 

King James I., A counter-blast to Tobacco 1672 (written 1604) 



C Dicing and Gaming 

For gourd and fullam holds, 
And high and low beguile the rich and poor. 

The Merry Wives of Windsor^ i. iii. 92 

He won it of me with false dice. 

Much Ado About Nothings 11. i. 29 s 

Multitude of cheaters 

Now, such is the misery of our time, or such is the 
licentious outrage of idle misgoverned persons, that of only 
dicers a man might have half an army, the greatest number so 
gaily be-seen, and so full of money, that they 'bash not to 
insinuate themselves into the company of the highest, and look 
for a good hour to creep into a gentleman's room of the privy 
chamber. And hereof you may right vftW assure yourself, that 
if their cost were not exceeding great, it were not possible by 
the only help thereof to lead so sumptuous a life as they do, 
always shining like blazing stars in their apparel, by night 
taverning with strumpets, by day spoiling gentlemen of their 
inheritance. And to speak all at once, like as all good and 
liberal sciences had a rude beginning, and by the industry of 
good men, being augmented by little and by little, at last grow 
to a just perfection ; so this detestable privy robbery, from a 
few and deceitful rules, is in few years grown to the body of 
an art, and hath his peculiar terms and thereof as great a 
multitude applied to it, as hath grammar, or logic, or any other 
of the approved sciences. 

A Gaming-house {catching a ^^ cousin") 

I told him I was yet but a raw courtier, as one that came 
from school not many months afore, and was now become 
servant to my lord Chancellor of England ; partly to see 
experience of things the better to govern myself hereafter, and, 
chiefly to have a staff to lean unto to defend mine own. And 
he again commended me much therein, declaring how divers 
notable persons, rashly by ignorance misguiding themselves, 
were suddenly shaken asunder, and fallen on the rocks of 
extreme penury : and how some other, even goodly wits, 



circumspectly working in all their doings, have, by want of 
such a leaning-stock, been overthrown with tyrants' power. 
"For which cause," quoth he, "like as I cannot but praise your 
wary working in this your first courting, so for my lord your 
master's sake you shall not lack the best that I may do for you : 
for, albeit that I am much beholding to all the lords of the 
counsel (as whom they stick not at all times to take to their 
board, and use sometime for a companion at play), yet is he my 
singular good lord above all the rest ; and, if I shall confess the 
truth, a great part of my living hath risen by his friendly pre- 
ferment ; and, though I say it myself, I am too old a courtier, 
and have seen too much, to bear nothing away ; and, in case 
our acquaintance hold, and, by daily company, gather deep root, 
I shall now and then shew you a lesson worth the learning ; 
and to the end hereafter each of us may be the bolder of the 
other, I pray you, if ye be not otherwise bespoken, take a capon 
with me at dinner. Though your fare be but homely and 
scant, yet a cup of good wine I can promise you, and all other 
lacks shall be supplied with a friendly welcome."... 

Soon after we came home to his house, the table was fair 
spread with diaper cloths, the cupboard garnished with much 
goodly plate, and last of all came forth the gentlewoman, his 
wife, clothed in silks and embroidered works : the attire of her 
head broidered with gold and pearl ; a carcanet about her neck, 
agreeable thereto, with a flower of diamonds pendant thereat, 
and many fair rings on her finger. " Bess," quoth he, " bid 
this gentleman welcome": and with that she courteously kissed 
me ; and, after, moved communication of my name, my natural 
country, what time my father died, and whether I were married 
yet or not, always powdering our talk with such pretty devices, 
that I saw not a woman in all my life whose fashions and 
entertainment I liked better. The good man, in the mean 
season, had been in the kitchen ; and suddenly returning and 
breaking our talk, somewhat sharply blamed his wife that the 
dinner was no further forward ; and whiles she withdrew her 
from us, by like to put all things in a good readiness, " Come 
on," quoth he, " you shall go see my house the while ; it is not 
like your large country houses ; rooms, ye wot, in London be 
strait, but yet the furniture of them be costly enough ; and 

W. H 113 


victuals be here at such high prices, that much money is soon 
consumed, specially with them that maintain an idle household; 
nevertheless, assure yourself that no man is welcomer than you 
to such cheer as ye find " : and, consequently, bringing me 
through divers well-trimmed chambers, the worst of them 
apparelled with verdures, some with rich cloth of arras, all 
with beds, chairs, and cushions of silk and gold, of sundry 
colours, suitably wrought. " Lo ! here," quoth he, " a poor 
man's lodging ; which if ye think it may do you any pleasure 
(for the inns of London be the worst of England), take your 
choice, and heartily welcome ; reserving but one for my lord, 
my wife's cousin, whom 1 dare not disappoint, lest happily he 
should lower, and make the house too hot for us." 1 gave him 
thanks, as meet it was I should, neither yet refusing his gentle 
offer (for, indeed, mine own lodging is somewhat loathsome, 
and pestered with company), nor yet embracing it, because 
hitherto I had not by any means deserved so great a pleasure. 
So down we came again into the parlour, and found three divers 
gentlemen, all strangers to me ; and what should I say more, 
but to dinner we went.... 

As touching our fare, though partridge and quail were no 
dainties, and wines of sundry grapes flowed abundantly, yet 
spare I to speak thereto.... So soon as we had well victualled 
ourselves, I wot not how, but easily it came to pass that we 
talked of news: namely, of Boulogne ; how hardly it was won; 
what policy then was practised to get it ; and what case the 
soldiers had in the siege of it ; insomuch that the least progress 
the king maketh into the inland parts of the realm dislodgeth 
more of his train, and leaveth them to their own provision, 
with less relief of victuals than had the worst unwaged 
adventurer there. From this the good man led us to talk of 
home pleasures ; enlarging the beauties of peace and London 
pastimes, and made so jolly a discourse thereof, that, to my 
judgment, he seemed skilful in all things. " Methinks," quoth 
he, " such simple fare as this, taken in peace, without fear and 
danger of gun-shot, is better than a prince's purveyance in war, 
where each morsel he eateth shall bring with it a present fear of 
sudden mischance, or violent hostility : and though that in the 
open camp none [Pone] might have more familiar access to the 



nobility than here at home, yet, for my part, I thank God, I 
have no cause to complain either, because of their gentleness ; 
no usher keeps the door between me and them when I come 
to visit them, or that the greatest princes refuse not sometimes 
to hallow my poor table and house with their person ; which 
(be it spoken without boast, or embraiding) doth sometime cost 
me twenty pounds a-day. I am sure that some of this company 
do remember what a brave company of lords supped with me 
the last term, and I think how ye have heard how some of 
them gat an hundred pounds or two by their coming." With 
this and that like talk, consumed was our dinner. And, after 
the table was removed, in came one of the waiters with a fair 
silver bowl, full of dice and cards. " Now, masters " quoth the 
goodman, " who is so disposed to fall to : here is my twenty 
pounds; win it, and wear it." Then each man chose his 
game : some kept the goodman company at the hazard, some 
matched themselves at a new game called primero.... 

They egged me to have made one at dice, and told me it 
was a shame for a gentleman not to keep gentlemen company 
for his twenty or forty crowns : nevertheless, because I alleged 
ignorance, the gentlewoman said I should not sit idle, all the 
rest being occupied, and so we two fell to saunt, five games a 
crown. ...I passed not for the loss of twenty or forty shillings 
for acquaintance, and so much I think it cost me, and then I 
left ofE Marry the dice-players stuck well by it and made very 
fresh play, saving one or two, that were clean shriven, and had 
no more money to lose. In the end, when I should take my 
leave to depart, I could not by any means be suffered so to break 
company, unless I would deliver the gentlewoman a ring for 
a gage of my return to supper, and so I did ; and, to tell you 
all in few words, I have haunted none other since I got that 
acquaintance : my meat, and drink and lodging is every way so 
delicate, that I make no haste to change it. 

Cheating and False Dice {a cheater speaks) 

Ye know that this outrageous swearing and quarrelling that 
some use in play, giveth occasion to many to forbear that else 
would adventure much money at it ; for this we have a device 

H2 115 


amongst us, that rather we relent and give place to a wrong, 
than we would cause the play, by strife, to cause any company 
to break ; neither have we any oaths in use but lightly these : 
"of honesty," "of truth," "by salt," "Martin 1" which, when we 
use them affirmatively, we mean always directly the contrary. 
As for example, if haply I say unto you when the dice cometh 
to your hands, " Of honesty cast at all," my meaning is that ye 
shall cast at the board or else at very little. If, when a thing is 
offered in gage, I swear, "By Saint Martin I think it fine gold," 
then mean I the contrary, that it is but copper. And like as it 
is a gentle and old proverb : let losers have their words ; so by 
the way take forth this lesson, ever to shew gentleness to the 
silly fools, and creep if ye can into their very bosoms. For 
harder it is to hold them when ye have them, than for the first 
time to take them up ; for these young wits be so light and so 
wavering, that it requireth great travail to make them always 
dance after one pipe. But to follow that we have in hand, be 
they young, be they old that falleth into our laps, and be 
ignorant of our art, we call them all by the name of a "cousin" ; 
as men that we make as much of as if they were of our kin. 
Indeed, the greatest wisdom of our faculty resteth in this point; 
diligently to foresee to make the "cousin" sweat, that is to have 
a will to keep play and company, and always to beware that 
we cause him not smoke, lest that, having any feel or savour of 
guile intended against him, he slip the collar as it were a hound, 
and shake us off for ever. And whensoever ye take up a 
"cousin," be sure, as near as ye can, to know aforehand what 
store of bit he hath in his bag, that is, what money he hath 
in his purse, and whether it be in great coggs or in small, that 
is, gold or silver ; and at what game he will soonest stoop, that 
we may feed him with his own humour, and have cauls ready 
for him ; for thousands there be that will not play a groat at 
novem, and yet will lose a hundred pound at the hazard ; and 
he that will not stoop a dodkin at the dice, perchance at cards 
will spend God's cope ; therefore they must be provided for 
every way. Generally your fine cheats, though they be good 
made both in the King's Bench and in the Marshalsea, yet Bird 
in Holborn is the finest workman ; acquaint yourself with him, 
and let him make you a bale or two of quarters [Fearers] of sundry 



sizes, some less, some more, to throw into the first play, till ye 
perceive what your company is. Then have in a readiness, to be 
foisted in when time shall be, your fine cheats of all sorts; be 
sure to have in store of such as these be : — a bale of barred 
cinque-deuces and flat cinque-deuces, a bale of barred six-aces 
and flat six-aces, a bale of barred cater-treys and flat cater-treys*, 
the advantage whereof is all on the one side and consisteth in the 
forging. Provide also a bale or two of fullams, for they have 
great use at the hazard : and though they be square outward, 
yet, being within at the corner with lead or other ponderous 
matter stopped, minister as great an advantage as any of the 
rest ; ye must also be furnished with high men and low men 
for a mumchance and for passage. Yea, and a long die for 
even and odd is good to strike a small stroke withal, for a crown 
or two, or the price of a dinner. As for gourds and bristle dice, 
they be now too gross a practice to be put in use ; light graviers 
there be, demies, contraries, and of all sorts, forged clean against 
the apparent vantage, which have special and sundry uses. 
But it is enough at this time to put you in a remembrance 
what tools ye must prepare to make you a workman. 


Is there as much craft at cards as ye have rehearsed at the 

Altogether, I would not give a point to choose ; they have 
such a sleight in sorting and shuffling of the cards, that play at 
what game ye will, all is lost aforehand. If two be confederated 
to beguile the third, the thing is compassed with the more ease 
than if one be but alone, yet are there many ways to deceive. 
Primero, now as it hath most use in court, so is there most 
deceit in it : some play upon the prick ; some pinch the cards 
privily with their nails ; some turn up the corners ; some mark 
them with fine spots of ink. One fine trick brought in a 
Spaniard : a finer than this invented an Italian, and won much 
money with it by our doctors, and yet, at the last, they were 
both overreached by new sleights devised here at home. At 
trump, saint, and such other like, cutting at the neck is a great 
vantage, so is cutting by a bum card (finely) under and over, 

* See glossary under " False Dice." 



stealing the stock of the decarded cards, if there be broad laws 
beforced aforehand. At decoy, they draw easily twenty hands 
together, and play all upon assurance when to win or lose. 
Other helps I have heard of besides ; as, to set the " cousin" upon 
the bench with a great looking-glass behind him on the wall, 
wherein the cheater might always see what cards were in his 
hand. Sometimes they work by signs made by some of the 
lookers-on. Wherefore methinks this, among the rest, proceeded 
of a fine invention, A gamester, after he had been oftentimes 
bitten among cheaters, and after much loss, grew very suspicious 
in his play, that he could not suffer any of the sitters by to be 
privy to his game ; for this the cheaters devised a new shift. 
A woman should sit sewing besides him ; and by the shift, or 
slow drawing her needle, give a token to the cheater what was 
the *' cousin's " game. So that from a few examples instead of 
infinite that might be rehearsed, this one universal conclusion 
may be gathered, that give you to play, and yield yourself to loss. 
Gilbert Walker? A Manifest detection of Dice-play 1532 

D. Debi and Usuty 

Falstaf. Boy I 
Page. Sir! 

Falstaff. What money is in my purse } 
Page. Seven groats and twopence. 

Pahtaff. I can get no remedy against this consumption of the purse : 
borrowing only lingers and lingers it out, but the disease is incurable. 

2 Henry IV. ^ i. ii. 264 — 270 

First, here's young Master Rash ; he's in for a commodity of brown 
paper, and old ginger, nine-score and seventeen pounds, of which he 
made five marks, ready money.... Then is there here one Master Caper, 
at the suit of Master Three-pile the mercer, for some four suits of peach- 
coloured satin, which now peaches him a beggar. 

Measure for Measure^ iv. iii. 4 — 2 x 

A Portrait of a Usurer 

The first of them is Usury (a devil of good credit in the 
city) who having privily stolen a sufficient stock from the old 
miser his father, hath lately set up for himself, and hath four of 
his brothers his apprentices. The first of them is Hardness-of- 


Heart, who bringing into his bank contempt-of-the-poor, is set 
by him to beat beggars from his door, and arrest his debtors by 
latitats. The second is, Unmeasurable-Care-and-Trouble-of- 
Mind, who hath brought this portion to be employed: dc- 
struction-of-the-mind, neglect-of-God's-service, want-of-faith, 
jealousy-of-loss: he keeps the cash, and suffers not a mouse to 
enter, but he scores him. The third is Violence, and for him 
he hath bought a sergeant's office, who hath so many eyes like 
Argus to watch that no poor creditor can escape him: his 
stock is a bunch of writs, and a hanger, and ordinarily he wears 
his mace at his back instead of a dagger. The fourth is 
Rapine, and he jets about the streets to steal for him: he is 
a passing good hooker and picklock; and for a short knife and 
a horn thimble, turn him loose to all the fraternity: his stock 
is false keys, engines, and sword-and-buckler : him he employs 
to rob from them he hath lent money to, to the end they may 
be the fitter to commit a forfeiture. 

This Usury is jump of the complexion of the baboon his 
father; he is haired like a great ape, and swart like a tawny 
Indian, his horns are sometimes hidden in a button cap (as Th. 
Nashe described him), but now he is fallen to his flat cap, because 
he is chief warden of his company: he is narrow-browed, and 
squirrel-eyed, and the chiefest ornament of his face is, that his 
nose sticks in the midst like an embossment in terrace work, 
here and there embellished and decked with veruca for want of 
purging with agaric; some authors have compared it to a 
rutter's cod-piece, but I like not the allusion so well, by reason 
the tyings have no correspondence. His mouth is always 
mumbling, as if he were at his matins: and his beard is 
bristled here and there like a sow that had the lousy. Double- 
chinned he is, and over his throat hangs a bunch of skin like a 
money-bag. Band wears he none, but a welt of coarse holland, 
and if you see it stitched with blue thread, it is no workaday 
wearing. His truss is the piece of an old packcloth, the mark 
washed out; and if you spy a pair of Bridges' satin sleeves to it, 
you may be assured it is a holiday. His points are the edging 
of some cast packsaddle, cut out sparingly (I warrant you) to 
serve him and his household for trussing leather. His jacket 
forsooth is faced with moth-eaten budge, and it is no less than 
Lisle grogram of the worst. It is bound to his body with a 



cordelier's girdle, dyed black for comeliness sake: and in his 
bosom he bears his handkerchief made of the reversion of his 
old tablecloth. His spectacles hang beating over his codpiece 
like the flag in the top of a maypole. His breeches and stock- 
ings are of one piece I warrant you, which, having served him 
in pure kersey for the tester of a bed some twenty years, is by 
the frugality of a dyer and the courtesy of a tailor for this 
present made a sconce for his buttocks. His shoes of the old 
cut, broad at the toes and cross-buckled with brass, and have 
loop-holes like a sconce for his toes to shoot out at. His gown 
is suitable, and as seemly as the rest, full of threads I warrant 
you, wheresoever the wool is employed, welted on the back 
with the clipping of a bare cast velvet hood, and faced with 
foins that had kept a widow's tail warm twenty winters before 
his time. 

Thus attired, he walks Paul's, coughing at every step as if 
he were broken-winded, grunting sometime for the pain of the 
stone and strangury: and continually thus old, and seeming 
ready to die, he notwithstanding lives to confound many 
families. If you come to borrow money, he will take no 
usury, no marry will he not : but if you require ten pound, you 
shall pay him forty shillings for an old cap, and the rest is 
yours in ready money; the man loves good dealing. If you 
desire commodities at his hand, why sir you shall have them, 
but how ? not (as the caterpillars wont to sell) at high prices, 
but at the best and easiest pennyworth, as in conscience you can 
desire them: only this, at the insealing of the assurance, if you 
help him away with a chest of glass for ten pound of ten 
shillings price, you shall command his warehouse another time. 
Tut he is for you at casual marts, commodities of proclamations 
and hobby-horses, you shall have all that you please, so he 
receive what he desires. It is a common custom of his to buy 
up cracked angels at nine shillings the piece. Now sir if a 
gentleman (on good assurance of land) request him of money, 
" Good sir," saith he, with a counterfeit sigh "I would be glad 
to please your worship, but my good money is abroad, and that 
I have, I dare not put in your hands." The gentleman think- 
ing this conscience, where it is subtlety, and being beside that 
in some necessity, ventures on the cracked angels, some of 
which cannot fly for soldering, and pays double interest to the 



miser, under the cloak of honesty. If he fails his day, God 
forbid he should take the forfeiture, he will not thrive by other 
men's curses, but because men must live, and we are infidels if 
we provide not for our families, he is content with this his own; 
only a leaf, a toy of this or that manor, worth both his prin- 
cipal and ten times the interest; this is easy for the gentleman 
to pay, and reasonable in him to receive. If a citizen come to 
borrow, "My friend" quoth he, "you must keep day, I am glad 
to help young men without harming myself": then paying 
him out the money and receiving his assurance, he casts Jolly 
Robins in his head how to cozen the simple fellow. If he have 
a shop well furnished, a stock to receive out of the Chamber, 
possibility after the death of his father, all this he hearkens 
after: and if he fail of his day, "Well," saith he, "for charity 
sake I will forbear you, mine interest paid": meanwhile 
(unknown to the wretch) he sues him upon the original to an 
outlawry, and if the second time he fail (as by some slight en- 
couragement he causes him to do) he turns him out a doors 
like a careless young man, yet for Christianity sake, he lets him 
at liberty, and will in charity content him with his goods. 

Thomas Lodge, fFits Miserie 1596 

The Debtors' Prison 

Shy lock. Gaoler, look to him : tell me not of mercy. 

The Merchant of Fenicey iii. iii. i 

Portia. But mercy is above this sceptred sway 
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, 
It is an attribute to God himself, 
And earthly power doth then show likest God's 
When mercy seasons justice. Ibid. iv. i. 193 — 197 

You have another cruelty in keeping men in prison so long, 
till sickness and death deal mildly with them, and (in despite of 
all tyranny) bail them out of all executions. When you see 
a poor wretch that to keep life in a loathed body hath not a 
house left to cover his head from the tempests, nor a bed (but 
the common bed which our mother the earth allows him) for 
his cares to sleep upon, when you have (by keeping or locking 
him up) robbed him of all means to get, what seek you to have 
him lose but his hfe ? The miserable prisoner is ready to 



famish, yet that cannot move you; the more miserable wife is 
ready to run mad with despair, yet that cannot melt you; the 
most of all miserable, his children lie crying at your doors, yet 
nothing can awaken in you compassion. If his debts be heavy, 
the greater and more glorious is your pity to work his freedom; 
if they be light, the sharper is the vengeance that will be 
heaped upon your heads for your hardness of heart. We are 
most like to God that made us, when we shew love one to 
another, and do most look like the devil that would destroy us, 
when we are one another's tormentors. If any have so much 
flint growing about his bosom, that he will needs make dice 
of men's bones, I would there were a law to compel him to 
make drinking bowls of their skulls too: and that every 
miserable debtor that so dies, might be buried at his creditor's 
door, that when he strides over him he might think he still 
rises up (like the Ghost in leronimo) crying ' Revenge.' 

Thomas Dekker, The Seuen Deadly Sinnes of London 1606 

§ 5. Dress and Fashion 

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin, 
That all with one consent praise new-born gawds. 

Troilus and Cressida, iii. iii. 174 — 175 

Nerissa, What say you, then, to Falconbridge, the young baron of 
England ? 

Portia. ...How oddly he is suited ! I think he bought his doublet 
in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his 
behaviour every where. The Merchant of Venice, i. ii. 70 — 81 

Petruchio. We will return unto thy father's house, 

And revel it as bravely as the best, 
With silken coats and caps and golden rings, 
With ruffs and cuffs and farthingales and things ; 
With scarfs and fans and double change of bravery, 
With amber bracelets, beads and all this knavery. 

Haberdasher. Here is the cap your worship did bespeak. 

Petruchio. Why, this was moulded on a porringer; 

A velvet dish : fie, fie ! 'tis lewd and filthy : 
Why, 'tis a cockle or a walnut-shell, 
A knack, a toy, a trick, a baby's cap : 
Away with it I come, let me have a bigger. 
* • • • • 



Petruckio. Thy gown? why, ay: come, tailor, let us see't. 

Oh mercy, God ! what masquing stuff is here ? 

What's this ? a sleeve ? 'tis like a demi-cannon : 

What ! up and down, carv'd like an apple-tart ? 

Here's snip and nip and cut and slish and slash. 

Like to a censer in a barber's shop. 

Tailor. You bid me make it orderly and well, 

According to the fashion of the time. 

The Taming of the Shreixj^ iv. iii. 53 — 95 

Fashion in general 
The fantastical folly of our nation (even from the 
courtier to the carter), is such that no form of apparel liketh us 
longer than the first garment is in the wearing, if it continue 
so long, and be not laid aside to receive some other trinket 
newly devised by the fickle-headed tailors, who covet to have 
several tricks in cutting, thereby to draw fond customers to 
more expense of money. For my part, I can tell better how to 
inveigh against this enormity than describe.. aay..ceytg»ni!y"of-^wc. 
attire ; sithence^ch is our mutability, that to-day there is none 
to the Spanish^uise, to-morrow the French toys are most fine 
and delectable, ere long no such apparel as that which is after 
the high Almain fashion, by-and-bye the Turkish manner is 
generally best liked of, otherwise the Morisco gowns, the 
Barbarian fleeces, the mandilion worn to Colleyweston ward, 
and the short French breeches make a comely vesture that, 
except it were a dog in a doublet, you sh^iL-not see any so 
disguised as ar e my cou ntrymen of Engl and. / And as these 
fashions are diverse, so iTEewisS^lL ii a WUI'ifl Tusee the costliness 
and the curiosity, the excess and the vanity, the pomp and the 
bravery, the change and the variety, and finally the fickleness 
and the folly, that is in all degrees, insomuch that {nothing is 
more constant in England than inconsUncy...of attire. <Oh, 
how much c ost is bestow ed nowadays upon our bodies, and 
Jiow iittle^ug onour souls ! ftbw many Suits of apparel haHT 
" jhe one, and liow littlg-fm-n- iLuie l ialh Uie o tHerl How long 
'^me is asked m declcing up of the nrst, and how little space 
left wherein to feed the latter 1 How curious, how nice also, 
are a number of men and women, and how hardly can the 
tailor please them in making it fit for their bodies ! How many 



times must it be sent back again to him that made it ! What 
chafing, what fretting, what reproachful language, doth the 
poor workman bear away! And many times when he doth 
nothing to it at all, yet when it is brought home again it is 
very fit and handsome. Then must we put it on, then must the 
long seams of our hose be set by a plumb-line, then we pufF, 
then we blow, and finally sweat till we drop, that our clothes 
may stand well upon us. I will say nothing of our heads, 
which sometimes are polled, sometimes curled, or suffered to 
grow at length like woman's locks, many times cut off, above 
or under the ears, round as by a wooden dish. Neither will 
I meddle with our variety of beards, of which some are shaven 
from the chin like those of Turks, not a few cut short like to 
the beard of Marquess Otto, some made round like a rubbing- 
brush, others with a pique de vant (O 1 fine fashion), or now and 
then suffered to grow long, the barbers being grown to be so 
cunning in this behalf as the tailors. And therefore if a man 
have a lean and straight face, a Marquess Otto's cut will make 
it broad and large ; if it be platter-like, a long, slender beard 
will make it seem the narrower; if he be weasel-beaked, then 
much hair left on the cheeks will make the owner look big like 
a bowdled hen, and so grim as a goose, if Cornelis of Chelms- 
ford say true. Many old men do wear no beards at all. Some 
lusty courtiers also and gentlemen of courage do wear either 
rings of gold, stones, or pearl in their ears, whereby they 
imagine the workmanship of God not to be a little amended. 
But herein they rather disgrace than adorn their persons, as by 
their niceness in apparel, for which I say most nations do not 
unjustly deride us, as also for that we do seem to imitate all 
nations round about us, wherein we be like to the polypus or 
chameleon ; and thereunto bestow most cost upon our arses, and 
much more than upon all the rest of our bodies, as women do 
likewise upon their heads and shoulders. In women also^ it is 
most to be lamented, that they do now far exceed the lightness 
of our men (who nevertheless are transformed from the cap 
even to the very shoe), and such staring attire, as in time past 
was supposed meet for none but light housewives only, is now 
become a habit for chaste and sober matrons. What should I 
say of their doublets with pendant codpieces on the breast, full 
of jags and cuts, and sleeves of sundry colours? Their galli- 



gaskins to bear out their bums and make their attire to fit plum 
round (as they term it) about them. Their farthingales, and 
diversely coloured nether stocks of silk, jersey, and such like, 
whereby their bodies are rather deformed than commended ? 
I have met v^ith some of these trulls in London so disguised 
that it hath passed my skill to discern whether they were men 
or women. 

Thus it is now come to pass, that women are become men, 
and men transformed into monsters. 

William Harrison, Description of England 1587 (2nd ed.) 

The sin of gorgeous attire 

England, the players' stage of gorgeous attire, the ape of all 
nations' superfluities, the continual masquer in outlandish habili- 
ments, great plenty-scanting calamities art thou to await, for 
wanton disguising thyself against kind, and digressing from the 
plainness of thy ancestors." Scandalous and shameful is it, that 
not any in thee (fishermen and husbandmen set aside) but live 
above their ability and birth; that the outward habit (which in 
other countries is the only distinction of honour) should yield 
in thee no difference of persons: that all thy ancient nobility 
(almost), with this gorgeous prodigality, should be devoured and 
eaten up, and upstarts inhabit their stately palaces, who from 
far have fetched in this variety of pride to entrap and to spoil 
them. Those of thy people that in all other things are miser- 
able, in their apparel will be prodigal. No land can so 
unfallibly experience this proverb. The hood makes not the monk^ as 
thou; for tailors, serving-men, make-shifts, and gentlemen in 
thee are confounded. For the compassment of bravery, we 
have them will rob, steal, cozen, cheat, betray their own fathers, 
swear and forswear, or do any thing. Take away bravery, 
you kill the heart of lust and incontinency. Wherefore do 
men make themselves brave, but to riot and to revel ? Look after 
what state their apparel is, that state they take to them and 
carry, and after a little accustoming to that carriage, persuade 
themselves they are such indeed.... 

We here in London, what for dressing ourselves, following 
our worldly affairs, dining, supping, and keeping company, have 
no leisure, not only not to watch against sin, but not so much 
as once to think of sin. In bed, wives must question their 




husbands about housekeeping, and providing for their children 
and family. No service must God expect of us, but a little in 
Lent, and in sickness and adversity. Our gorgeous attire we 
make not to serve Him, but to serve the flesh. If He were 
pleased with it, why did they ever in the old law, (when they 
presented themselves before Him, in fasting and prayer), rend it 
off their backs, and put on coarse sackcloth and ashes ? No 
lifting up a man's self that God likes, but the lifting up of the 
spirit in prayer. 

One thing it is for a man to lift up himself to God, another 
thing to lift up himself against God. In pranking up our 
carcasses too proudly, we lift up our flesh against God. In 
hfting up our flesh, we depress our spirits. London, lay off thy 
gorgeous attire, and cast down thyself before God in contrition 
and prayer, lest He cast thee down in His indignation into hell 

Thomas Nashe, Christs Teares onjer lerusalem 1593 

The portrait of a datid:^ 

At last, to close up the lamentable tragedy of us ploughmen, 
enters our young landlord, so metamorphosed into the shape of 
a French, puppet, that at the first we started, and thought one 
of the baboons had marched in in man's apparel. His head 
was dressed up in white feathers like a shuttlecock, which 
agreed so well with his brain, being nothing but cork, that two 
of the biggest of the guard might very easily have tossed him 
with battledores, and made good sport with him in his majesty's 
great hall. His doublet was of a strange cut; and shew the 
fury of his humour, the collar of it rose up so high and sharp 
as if it would have cut his throat by daylight. His wings, 
according to the fashion now, were as little and diminutive as 
a puritan's ruff, which shewed he ne'er meant to fly out of 
England, nor do any exploit beyond sea, but live and die about 
London, though he begged in Finsbury. His breeches, a 
wonder to see, were full as deep as the middle of winter, or the 
roadway between London and Winchester, and so large and 
wide withal, that I think within a twelvemonth he might very 
well put all his lands in them ; and then you may imagine they 
were big enough, when they would outreach a thousand acres. 
Moreover, they differed so far from our fashioned hose in 



the country, and from his father's old gascoins, that his back- 
part seemed to us like a monster; the roll of the breeches 
standing so low, that we conjectured his house of office, sir- 
reverence, stood in his hams. All this while his French 
monkey bore his cloak of three pounds a yard, lined clean 
through with purple velvet, which did so dazzle our coarse 
eyes, that we thought we should have been purblind ever after, 
what with the prodigal aspect of that and his glorious rapier and 
hangers all bossed with pillars of gold, fairer in show than the 
pillars in Paul's or the tombs at Westminster. Beside, it drunk 
up the price of all my plough-land in very pearl, which stuck 
as thick upon those hangers as the white measles upon hogs' 
flesh. When I had well viewed that gay gaudy cloak and 
those unthrifty wasteful hangers, I muttered thus to myself: 
"That is no cloak for the rain, sure; nor those no hangers for 
Derrick": when of a sudden, casting mine eyes lower, I 
beheld a curious pair of boots of king Philip's leather, in such 
artificial wrinkles, sets and plaits, as if they had been starched 
lately and came new from the laundress's, such was my 
ignorance and simple acquaintance with the fashion, and I dare 
swear my fellows and neighbours here are all as ignorant as 
myself. But that which struck us most into admiration, upon 
those fantastical boots stood such huge and wide tops, which so 
swallowed up his thighs, that had he sworn as other gallants 
did, this common oath, "Would I might sink as I stand!" all 
his body might very well have sunk down and been damned in 
his boots. Lastly he walked the chamber with such a pestilent 
gingle that his spurs oversqueaked the lawyer, and made him 
reach his voice three notes above his fee; but after we had spied 
the rowels of his spurs, how we blest ourselves ! they did so 
much and so far exceed the compass of our fashion, that they 
looked more like the forerunners of wheelbarrows. Thus was 
our young landlord accoutred in such a strange and prodigal 
shape that it amounted to above two years' rent in apparel. 
Thomas Middleton? father Hubburds Tales 1604 



Fashion descends 

AH manners of attire came first into the city and country 
from the court, which, being once received by the common people, 
and by very stage-players themselves, the courtiers justly cast 
off, and take new fashions, (though somewhat too curiously) ; 
and whosoever wears the old, men look upon him as a picture 
in arras hangings. For it is proverbially said, that we may eat 
according to our own appetite, but in our apparel must follow 
the fashion of the multitude, with whom we live. But in the 
meantime it is no reproach to any, who of old did wear those 
garments, when they were in fashion. In like sort, many 
dances and measures are used in Court, but when they come to 
be vulgar and to be used upon very stages, courtiers and 
gentlemen think them uncomely to be used, yet is it no 
reproach to any man who formerly had skill therein. 

Fynes Moryson, Itinerary 1617 


Claudio. If he be not in love with some woman, there is no believing 
old signs : a* brushes his hat a mornings ; what should that bode ? 

Don Pedro. Hath any man seen him at the barber's ? 

Claudio. No, but the barber's man hath been seen with him j and 
the old ornament of his cheek hath already stuiFed tennis balls, 

Leonato. Indeed he looks younger than he did, by the loss of a Beard. 
Much Ado About Nothings m. ii. 40 — 49 

How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false 
As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins 
The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars, 
Who, inward search 'd, have livers white as milk; 
And these assume but valour's excrement 
To render them redoubted ! 

The Merchant of renice, \u. ii. 83 — 88 

Theodorus, What say you of the barbers and trimmers of 
men ? are they so neat, and so fine fellows as they are said 
to be? 

Amphilogus, There are no finer fellows under the sun, nor 
experter in their noble science of barbing than they be. And 
therefore in the fulness of their overflowing knowledge (oh in- 
genious heads, and worthy to be dignified with the diadem of 



folly and vain curiosity!) they have invented such strange 
fashions and monstrous manners of cuttings, trimmings, shavings 
and washings, that you vi^ould wonder to see. They have one 
manner of cut called the French cut, another the Spanish cut; 
one the Dutch cut, another the Italian ; one the new cut, another 
the old ; one of the bravado fashion, another of the mean fashion ; 
one a gentleman's cut, another the common cut; one cut of 
the court, another of the country, with infinite the like varieties, 
which I overpass. They have also other kinds of cuts innumer- 
able ; and therefore when you come to be trimmed, they will 
ask you whether you will be cut to look terrible to your enemy, 
or amiable to your friend, grim and stern in countenance, or 
pleasant and demure (for they have divers kinds of cuts for all 
these purposes, or else they lie). Then, when they have done 
all their feats, it is a world to consider, how their mustachios 
must be preserved and laid out, from one cheek to another, yea, 
almost from one ear to another, and turned up like two horns 
towards the forehead. Besides that, when they come to the 
cutting of the hair, what snipping and snapping of the scissors 
is there, what tricking and trimming, what rubbing, what 
scratching, what combing and clawing, what trickling and 
toying, and all to tawe out money, you may be sure. And 
when they come to washing, oh how gingerly they behave 
themselves therein. For then shall your mouth be bossed 
with the lather or foam that riseth of the balls (for they 
have their sweet balls wherewithal they use to wash) ; your 
eyes closed must be anointed therewith also. Then snap 
go the fingers, full bravely, God wot. Thus this tragedy 
ended, comes me warm cloths to wipe and dry him withal ; 
next, the ears must be picked, and closed together again 
artificially forsooth ; the hair of the nostrils cut away, and 
every thing done in order comely to behold. The last 
action in this tragedy is the payment of money. And lest 
these cunning barbers might seem unconscionable in asking 
much for their pains, they are of such a shamefast modesty, as 
they will ask nothing at all, but standing to the courtesy and 
liberality of the giver, they will receive all that comes, how 
much soever it be, not giving any again, I warrant you : for 
take a barber with that fault, and strike off his head. No, no, 
such fellows are rarae aves in terris^ nigrisque similllmi cygnis: 

w. I 129 


rare birds upon the earth, and as geason as black swans. You 
shall have also your orient perfumes for your nose, your fragrant 
waters for your face, wherewith you shall be all to besprinkled ; 
your music again, and pleasant harmony, shall sound in your 
ears, and all to tickle the same with vain delight. And in the 
end your cloak shall be brushed, and *God be with you, 
gentleman 1 ' 

Philip Stubbes, Anatomie of Abuses (Part ii) 1583 

A Dentmciaiion of Fashionable Ladies 

Hamlet {to Yorick^s skull). Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell 
her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come j make her 
laugh at that. Hamlet, v. i. 211 — 214 

Look on beauty. 
And you shall see 'tis purchas'd by the weight j 
Which therein works a miracle in nature, 
Making them lightest that wear most of it: 
So are those crisped snaky golden locks 
Which make such wanton gambols with the wind. 
Upon supposed fairness, often known 
To be the dowry of a second head. 
The skull that bred them, in the sepulchre. 

Merchant of Venice, in. ii. 88 — 96 

Ever since Evah was tempted, and the serpent prevailed 
with her, women have took upon the m_both the person of the 
tempted and the tempter. They tempt to be tempted, and not 
one ot them, except she be tempted, but thinks herself con- 
temptible. Unto the greatness of their great-grand-mother 
Evah they seek to aspire, in being tempted and tempting. If 
not to tempt and be thought worthy to be tempted, why dye 
they and diet their faces with so many drugs as they do, as it 
were to correct God*s workmanship, and reprove Him as a 
bungler, and one that is not his craftsmaster ? Why ensparkle 
they their eyes with spiritualized distillations ? Why tip they 
their tongues with aurum potabile ? Why fill they age's frets 
with fresh colours? Even as roses and flowers in winter are 
preserved in close houses under earth y so preserve they their 
beauties by continual lying in bed. 

just to dinner they will arise, and after dinner go to bed 
again, and lie until supper. Yea, sometimes (by no sickness 



occasioned) they will lie in bed three days together : provided 
every morning before four o'clock, they have their broths and 
their cuUises, with pearl and gold sodden in them. If haply 
they break their hours and rise more early to go a banquetting, 
they stand practising half a day with their looking-glasses, how 
to pierce and to glance and look alluringly amiable. Their 
feet are not so well framed to the measures, as are their eyes to 
move and bewitch. Even as angels are painted in Church- 
windows with glorious golden fronts beset with sunbeams, so 
beset they their foreheads on either side with glorious borrowed 
gleamy bushes; which, rightly interpreted, should signify beauty 
to sell, since a bush is not else hanged forth but to invite men to 
buy. And in Italy, when they set any beast to sale, they crown 
his head with garlands, and bedeck it with gaudy blossoms, as 
full as ever it may stick. 

Their heads, with their top and top-gallant lawn baby-caps, 
and snow-resembled silver curlings, they make a plain puppet 
stage of. Their breasts they embusk up on high, and their 
round roseate buds immodestly lay forth, to shew at their hands 
there is fruit to be hoped. In their curious antic-woven gar- 
ments, they imitate and mock the worms and adders that must 
eat them. They shew the swellings of their mind, in the 
swellings and plumpings out of their apparel. Gorgeous ladies 
of the court, never was I admitted so near any of you, as to 
see how you torture poor old Time with sponging, pinning, 
and pouncing ; but they say his sickle you have burst in twain, 
to make your periwigs more elevated arches of. 

I dare not meddle with ye, since the philosopher that too 
intentively gazed on the stars, stumbled and fell into a ditch ; 
and many gazing too immoderately on our earthly stars, fall in 
the end into the ditch of all uncleanness. Only this humble 
caveat let me give you by the way, that you look the devil 
come not to you in the likeness of a tailor or a painter ; that 
however you disguise your bodies, you lay not on your colours 
so thick that they sink into your souls ; that your skins being 
too white without, your souls be not all black within. 

It is not your pinches, your purls, your flowery jaggings, 
superfluous interlacings, and puflings up, that can any way 
offend God, but the puffing up of your souls, which therein 
you express. For as the biting of a bullet is not that which 

12 131 


poisons the bullet, but the lying of the gunpowder in the dint 
of the biting: so it is not the wearing of costly burnished 
apparel that shall be objected unto you for sin, but the pride of 
your hearts, which (like the moth) lies closely shrouded amongst 
the threads of that apparel. Nothing else is garish apparel but 
pride's ulcer broken forth. How will you attire yourselves, 
what gown, what head-tire will you put on, when you shall 
live in. hell amongst hags and devils ? 

As many jags, blisters and scars shall toads, cankers and 
serpents make on your pure skins in the grave, as now you 
have cuts, jags or raisings, upon your garments. In the marrow 
of your bones snakes shall breed. Your morn-like crystal 
countenances shall be netted over and (masquer-like) caul- 
visarded with crawling venomous worms. Your orient teeth 
toads shall steal into their heads for pearl ; of the jelly of your 
decayed eyes shall they engender them young. In their hollow 
caves (their transplendent juice so poUutionately employed), 
shelly snails shall keep house. 

Oh, what is beauty more than a wind-blown bladder, that 
it should forget whereto it is born ? It is the food of cloying 
concupiscence, living; and the substance of the most noisome 
infection, being dead. The mothers of the justest men are not 
freed from corruption, the mothers of kings and emperors are 
not freed from corruption. No gorgeous attire (man or woman) 
hast thou in this world, but the wedding garment of faith. 
Thy winding-sheet shall see thee in none of thy silks or shining 
robes ; to show they are not of God, when thou goest to God, 
thou shalt lay them all off. Then shalt thou restore to every 
creature what thou hast robbed him of. All the leases which 
dust let out to life, at the day of death shall be returned again 
into his hands. In skins of beasts Adam and Eve were clothed ; 
in nought but thine own skin at the day of Judgment shalt 
thou be clothed. If thou beest more deformed than the age 
wherein thou diedst should make thee, the devil shall stand up 
and certify, that with painting and physicing thy visage thou 
so deformedst it ; whereto God shall reply, " What have I to 
do with thee, thou painted sepulchre ? Thou hast so differenced 
and divorced thyself from thy creation, that I know thee not 
for my creature. The print of my finger thou hast defaced, 
and with arts-vanishing varnishment made thyself a changeling 


from the form I first cast thee in ; Satan, take her to thee, with 
black boiling pitch rough-cast over her counterfeit red and 
white ; and whereas she was wont in ass's milk to bathe her 
to engrain her skin more gentle, pliant, delicate and supple, in 
bubbling scalding lead, and fatty flame-feeding brimstone see 
thou unceasingly bathe her. With glowing hot irons, singe 
and suck up that adulterized sinful beauty, wherewith she hath 
branded herself to infelicity." 

Oh female pride, this is but the dalliance of thy doom, but 
the intermissive recreation of thy torments. The greatness of 
thy pains I want portentous words to portray. Whereinsoever 
thou hast took extreme delight and glory, therein shalt thou be 
plagued with extreme and despiteous malady. For thy flaring 
frounced periwigs low dangled down with love-locks, shalt thou 
have thy head side dangled down with more snakes than ever 
it had hairs. In the mould of thy brain shall they clasp their 
mouths, and gnawing through every part of thy skull, ensnarl 
their teeth amongst thy brains, as an angler ensnarleth his hook 
amongst weeds. 

For thy rich borders, shalt thou have a number of dis- 
coloured scorpions rolled up together, and cockatrices that kill 
with their very sight shall continually stand spurting fiery 
poison in thine eyes. In the hollow cave of thy mouth, 
basilisks shall keep house, and supply thy talk with hissing 
when thou strivest to speak. At thy breasts (as at Cleopatra's), 
aspices shall be put out to nurse. For thy carcanets of pearl, 
shalt thou have carcanets of spiders, or the green venomous flies 
cantharides. Hell's torments were no torments, if invention 
might conceit them. As no eye hath seen, no ear hath heard, 
no tongue can express, no thought comprehend the joys pre- 
pared for the elect, so no eye hath seen, no ear hath heard, no 
thought can comprehend the pains prepared for the rejected. 
Thomas Nashe, Christs Teares tyver lerusalem 1593 

The Pride of Merchajiis' Wives 
Mistress Minx, a merchant's wife, that will eat no cherries, 
forsooth, but when* they are at twenty shillings a pound, that 
looks as simperingly as if she were besmeared, and jets it as 
gingerly as if she were dancing the canaries : she is so finical in 
her speech, as though she spake nothing but what she had first 


sewed over before in her samplers, and the puling accent of her 
voice is like a feigned treble, or one's voice that interprets to the 
puppets. What should I tell how squeamish she is in her diet, 
what toil she puts her poor servants unto, to make her looking- 
glasses in the pavement ? how she will not go into the fields, to 
cower on the green grass, but she must have a coach for her 
convoy ; and spends half a day in pranking herself if she be 
invited to any strange place ? Is not this the excess of pride, 
signior Satan ? Go to, you are unwise, if you make her not a 
chief saint in your calendar. 

Thomas Nashe, Pierce Penilesse 1592 


The third sort of dogs of the gentle kind is the spaniel gentle, 
or comforter, or (as the common term is) the fisting-hound, and 
those are called Melitei, of the Island Malta, from whence 
they were brought hither. These are little and pretty, proper 
and fine, and sought out far and near to satisfy the nice 
delicacy of dainty dames, and wanton women's wills ; instru- 
ments of folly to play and dally withal, in trifling away the 
treasure of time, to withdraw their minds from more commend- 
able exercises, and to content their corrupt concupiscences with 
vain disport, a silly poor shift to shun their irksome idleness. 
These sybaritical puppies, the smaller they be (and thereto if they 
have an hole in the foreparts of their heads) the better they are 
accepted, the more pleasure also they provoke, as meet playfellows 
for mincing mistresses to bear in their bosoms, to keep company 
withal in their chambers, to succour with sleep in bed, and nourish 
with meat at board, to lie in their laps, and lick their lips, as they 
lie (like young Dianas) in their waggons and coaches. And 
good reason it should be so, for coarseness with fineness hath 
no fellowship, but featness with neatness hath neighbourhead 
enough. That plausible proverb, therefore, verified sometime 
upon a tyrant, namely that he loved his sow better than his son, 
may well be applied to some of this kind of people, who delight 
more in their dogs, that are deprived of all possibility of reason, 
than they do in children that are capable of wisdom and judg- 
ment. Yea, they oft feed them of the best, where the poor 
man's child at their doors can hardly come by the worst. But 
the former abuse peradventure reigneth where there hath been 

J 34 


long want of issue, else where barrenness is the best blossom of 
beauty, or, finally, where poor men's children for want of their 
own issue are not ready to be had. It is thought of some that 
it is very wholesome for a weak stomach to bear such a dog in 
the bosom, as it is for him that hath the palsy to feel the daily 
smell and savour of a fox. But how truly this is affirmed, let 
the learned judge: only it shall suffice for Dr Caius to have said 
thus much of spaniels and dogs of the gentle kind. 

William Harrison, Description of England 1587 (2nd ed.) 

§6. The Plague 

[In Shakespeare's day the plague was an annual visitor to London. 
When there were over 30 deaths a week the theatres were closed. There 
were very few summers in which this did not happen.] 

It's an ill fwind (a beggar speaks) 
If such plague do ensue it is no great loss. For, first, it 
shall not only deliver the miserable poor man, woman and 
bairns from hurt and carefulness into a better world, but also 
cut off many covetous usurers, which be like fat unclean swine, 
which do never good until they come to the dish, but root out 
every plant that they can come by ; and like unto great 
stinking mickle midden-hills, which never do pleasure unto the 
land or ground until their heaps are cast abroad to the profits of 
many, which are kept neither to their own comforts nor others, 
but only in beheading them ; like unto cruel dogs lying in a 
manger, neither eating the hay themselves nor suffering the 
horse to feed thereof himself. And in such plagues we poor 
people have mickle good. Their loss is our luck ; when they 
do become naked, we then are clothed against their wills ; with 
their doles and alms we are relieved ; their sickness is our health, 
their death our life. Besides us pakers, many more men have 
good luck, as the vicar, parish clerk and the bell-man ; often- 
times the executors be no losers by this game. And in fine, in 
my fantasy it is happy to the huntsman when he have nothing 
of the cat but the silly skin. We beggars reck nought of the 
carcase of the dead body, but do defy it ; we look for old cast 
coats, jackets, hose, caps, belts and shoes, by their deaths which 
in their lives they would not depart from, and this is our hap. 
God send me of them. 
William Bullein, A Dialogue against the Pestilence 1573 (ist ed. 1564) 


Treatment for the plague 

To preserve your body from the infection of the plague, 
you shall take a quart of old ale, and after it hath risen upon 
the fire and hath been scummed, you shall put thereinto of 
aristolochia longa, of angelica and of celandine of each half an 
handful, and boil them well therein ; then strain the drink 
through a clean cloth, and dissolve therein a drachm of the best 
mithridate, as much ivory finely powdered and searced, and six 
spoonful of dragon-water, then put it up in a close glass ; and 
every morning fasting take five spoonful thereof, and after bite 
and chew in your mouth the dried root of angelica, or smell, as 
on a nosegay, to the tasselled end of a ship rope, and they will 
surely preserve you from infection. 

But if you be infected with the plague, and feel the assured 
signs thereof, as pain in the head, drought, burning, weakness 
of stomach and such like : then you shall take a drachm of the 
best mithridate, and dissolve it in three or four spoonful of 
dragon-water, and immediately drink it off, and then with hot 
cloths or bricks, made extreme hot and laid to the soles of your 
feet, after you have been wrapt in woollen cloths, compel the 
sick party to sweat, which if he do, keep him moderately 
therein till the sore begin to rise ; then to the same apply a 
live pigeon cut in two parts, or else a plaster made of the yolk 
of an egg, honey, herb of grace chopped exceeding small, and 
wheat flour, which in very short space will not only ripen, but 
also break the same without any other incision ; then after it 
hath run a day or two, you shall apply a plaster of melilot unto 
it until it be whole. 

Gbrvase Markham, The English Hus-ivife 1615 

The flight from London 

Clvis, Good wife, the daily jangling and ringing of the 
bells, the coming in of the minister to every house in ministring 
the communion, in reading the homily of death, the digging 
up of graves, the sparring in of windows, and the blazing forth 
of the blue cross, do make my heart tremble and quake. Alas, 
what shall I do to save my life ? 

Uxor, Sir, we are but young, and have but a time in this 
world, what doth it profit us to gather riches together, and can 



not enjoy them ? Why tarry we here so long ? I do think 
every hour a year until we be gone ; my heart is as cold as a 
stone, and as heavy as lead, God help me. Seeing that we 
have sent our children forth three weeks past into a good air 
and a sweet country, let us follow them. We shall be welcome 
to your brother's house, I dare say ; my sister will rejoice in 
our coming, and so will all our friends there. Let us take 
leave of our neighbours, and return merely home again when 
the plague is past, and the dog days ended ; and there you may 
occupy your stock, and have gain thereof. 

Civis, Oh, wife, we know not our return, for the Apostle 
saith to you that will say, "To-day or to-morrow we will go to 
such a city, and buy and sell, and have gain, and know not 
what shall happen to-morrow," "What is our life ? It is as a 
vapour that appeareth for a little time, and afterward vanisheth 
away." For that ye ought to say, "If the Lord will and we 
live, we will to this or that place ; and if it please God we will 
both depart and return again at His good will and pleasure " ; 
for we are in His hands whither so ever we do go; and I trust it 
is not against God's commandment or pleasure that we depart 
from this infected air. 

Uxor, I know not what God will in our departing, but 
my flesh trembles when I do hear the death-bell ring. 

Civis, Yes surely, we have the Apostle saying (for our 
defence in flying), "No man ever yet hath hated his own flesh, 
but nourisheth and cherisheth it": therefore, who can nourish 
his flesh in a corrupted air, but rather do kill it ? Further, 
I hear a doctor of physic say that one called Galen, in a book of 
treacle, [wrote] to onePison,his friend, that the pestilence was like 
a monstrous hungry beast, devouring and eating not a few but 
sometimes whole cities, that by respiration or drawing in their 
breath do take the poisoned air. He lauded Hippocrates, which 
saith that to remove from the infected air into a cleaner, 
thereby, saith he, they did not draw in more foul air, and 
this was his only remedy for the plague. To them that did 
remain he commanded not only simple wood to be burned 
within the city of Athens, but also most sweet flowers and 
spices, perfumes, as gums and ointments, to purge the air. 
And, wife, fear of death enforced many holy men to fly : as 


Jacob from his cruel brother Esau, David from Saul, EHas from 
Jezebel. The Christian men from fear of death did fly the 
tyranny of the papists, and although these men did not fly the 
pestilence, yet they fled all for fear of death ; and so will we 
by God's grace observe such wholesome means, and obey His 
Divine providence. Also I will leave my house with my 
faithful friends, and take the keys of my chests with me. 
Where are our horses ? 

Uxor. Our things are ready ; have you taken your leave 
of our neighbours, man ? 

Ctvis, I have done ; so now let us depart, a God's blessing, 
good wife. 

Uxor, Give me my horse, Roger. 

Roger, Mistress, he is here ready at your hand, a good 
gelding. God bless him and sweet Saint Loye. 

Civts, Bring forth mine also, and let the servants forget 
nothing behind them, specially the steel casket. Let us ride 
fair and softly until we be out of the town. 

Uxor, How pleasant are these sweet fields, garnished with 
fair plants and flowers ! the birds do sing sweetly and pitifully 
in the bushes ; here are pleasant woods. Jesus, man, who 
would be in the city again ? Not I, for an hundred pound. 
Oh, help me ! my horse starteth, and had like to have been 
unsaddled ; let me sit faster for falling. 

Civis, He is a bird-eyed jade, I warrant you, and you are no 
good horsewoman, for I did never see you ride before in all my 
life ; but exercise will make you perfect. Your mother was a 
good horsewoman, and loved riding well as any gentlewoman 
that ever I knew in my life. Well, she is gone, and we must 
follow : this is the world. 

Uxor, I never was so far from London in all my life. 
How far have we ridden already, sir, I pray you ? 

Civis, Wife, we have ridden ten miles this morning. 

Uxor, What town is this, I pray you, sir ? 

Civis, This is Barnet, whereas Samuel your son was 
nursed ; and yonder is Richard Higmer's house ; we will see 
him as we do return home again ; we will not tarry now, 
because every inn is pestered with Londoners and carriers, and 
it is early days. How like you this town, dame I 



Uxor. A pretty street ; but methink the people go very 
plain ; it is no city as I do suppose by their manners. What 
house is this at the town's end, compassed with a moat ? 

Civis. Here dwelleth a friend of ours ; this is called the 
Fold. And here before is Dancers' Hill, and Rig Hill. 

Uxor, What great smoke is in yonder wood ? God grant 
it be well. 

Civis, It is nothing but making of charcoal in that place. 

Uxor, Why, is charcoal made? I had thought all things 
had been made at London, yet I did never see no charcoals 
made there : by my troth, I had thought that they had grown 
upon trees, and had not been made. 

William Bullein, A Dialogue against the Pestilence 1373 (ist ed. 1564) 




Polonius. What do you read, my lord ? 

Hamlet. Words, words, words. Hamlet^ ii. ii. 189 — 190 

Slender. I had rather than forty shillings I had my Book of Songs 
and Sonnets here. How now. Simple ! where have you been ? I must 
wait on myself, must I ? You have not the Book of Riddles about you, 
have you ? 

Simple. Book of Riddles ! why, did you not lend it to Alice Shortcake 
upon All-Hallowmas last, a fortnight afore Michaelmas? 

The Merry Wives of Windsor ^ 1. i. 205 — 212 


To the right honourable Henry Wriothesly, 
Earl of Southampton and Baron of Tichfield, 

The love I dedicate to your lordship is without end ; whereof 
this pamphlet, without beginning, is but a superfluous moiety. 
The warrant I have of your honourable disposition, not the 
worth of my untutored lines, makes it assured of acceptance. 
What I have done is yours ; what I have to do is yours ; being 
part in all I have, devoted yours. Were my worth greater, 
my duty would show greater ; meantime, as it is, it is bound to 
your lordship, to whom I wish long life, still lengthened with 

Your lordship's in all duty, 

William Shakespeare 

"" Dedication of The Rape qf Lucrece 1594 


A sixteenth century printer's office 


Most gracious and dread Sovereign, 

...Thirteen years your Highness's servant, but yet 
nothing. Twenty friends that though they say they will be 
sure, I find them sure too slow. A thousand hopes, but all 
nothing. A hundred promises, but yet nothing. Thus casting 
up an inventory of my friends, hopes, promises and times, the 
sum total amounteth to just nothing. My last will is shorter 
than mine invention. But three legacies I bequeath. Patience 
to my creditors, Melancholy without measure to my friends, 
and Beggary without shame to my family... 

The last and the least, that if I be born to have nothing, 
I may have protection to pay nothing, which suit is like his, 
who having followed the court ten years, for recompense of 
his service committed a robbery, and took it out in a pardon. 

John L-yly to Queen Elizabeth 1598 

PoriraH of a poet 

I espied afar off a certain kind of an overworn gentleman 
attired in velvet and satin, but it was somewhat dropped and 
greasy, and boots on his legs, whose soles waxed thin and 
seemed to complain of their master, which treading thrift under 
his feet had brought them unto that consumption. He walked 
not as other men in the common beaten way, but came com- 
passing circumeirca^ as if we had been devils, and he would draw 
a circle about us, and at every third step he looked back as if 
he were afraid of a bailey or a sergeant.... 

A poet is a waste-good and an unthrift, that he is born to 
make the taverns rich and himself a beggar. If he have forty 
pound in his purse together, he puts it not to usury, neither 
buys land nor merchandise with it, but a month's commodity 
of wenches and capons. Ten pound a supper, why 'tis nothing, 
if his plough goes and his ink-horn be clear. Take one of them 
with twenty thousand pounds and hang him. He is a king of 
his pleasure, and counts all other boors and peasants that, though 
they have money at command, yet know not like him how to 
domineer with it to any purpose as they should. But to speak 
plainly, I think him an honest man, if he would but live within 
his compass, and generally no man's foe but his own. 

Robert Greene, A Quip for an Upstart Courtier 1592 


An author's comphird 

I tossed my imagination a thousand v/ays, to see if I could 
find any means to relieve my estate : but all my thoughts con- 
sorted to this conclusion, that the world was uncharitable, and 
I ordained to be miserable. Thereby I grew to consider how 
many base men that wanted those parts which I had, enjoyed 
content at will, and had wealth at command : I called to mind 
a cobbler, that was worth five hundred pound, an hostler that 
had built a goodly inn, and might dispend forty pound yearly 
by his land, a carman in a leather pilch, that had whipped 
out a thousand pound out of his horse tail : and have I more 
wit than all these (thought I to myself) ? am I better born ? 
am I better brought up ? yea, and better favoured ? and yet am 
I a beggar ? What is the cause ? how am I crossed ? or whence 
is this curse ? 

Even from hence, that men that should employ such as I 
am, are enamoured of their own wits, and think whatever they 
do is excellent, though it be never so scurvy : that learning (of 
the ignorant) is rated after the value of the ink and paper : and 
a scrivener better paid for an obligation, than a scholar for the 
best poem he can make ; that every gross-brained idiot is 
suffered to come into print, who if he set forth a pamphlet of 
the praise of pudding-pricks, or write a treatise of Tom Thumme^ 
or the exploits of Untrusse, it is bought up thick and threefold, 
when better things lie dead. How then can we choose but be 
needy, when there are so many drones amongst us ? or ever 
prove rich, that toil a whole year for fair looks ? 

Gentle Sir Philip Sidney, thou knewest what belonged to a 
scholar, thou knewest what pains, what toil, what travail, con- 
duct to perfection : well couldst thou give every virtue his 
encouragement, every art his due, every writer his desert : 
'cause none more virtuous, witty, or learned than thyself. But 
thou art dead in thy grave, and hast left too few successors 
of thy glory, too few to cherish the sons of the Muses, or 
water those budding hopes with their plenty, which thy bounty 
erst planted. 

Believe me, gentlemen, for some cross mishaps have taught 
me experience, there is not that strict observation of honour, 
which hath been heretofore. Men of great calling take it of 
merit, to have their names eternized by poets ; and whatsoever 
pamphlet or dedication encounters them, they put it up their 



sleeves, and scarce give him thanks that presents it. Much 
better is it for those golden pens to raise such ungrateful 
peasants from the dunghill of obscurity, and make them equal 
in fame to the worthies of old, when their doting self-love shall 
challenge it of duty, and not only give them nothing themselves, 
but impoverish liberality in others. 

This is the lamentable condition of our times, that men of 
art must seek alms of cormorants, and those that deserve best, 
be kept under by dunces, who count it a policy to keep them 
bare, because they should follow their books the better : 
thinking belike, that, as preferment hath made themselves idle 
that were erst painful in meaner places, so it would likewise 
slacken the endeavours of those students that as yet strive to 
excel in hope of advancement. A good policy to suppress 
superfluous liberality. But, had it been practised when they 
were promoted, the yeomanry of the realm had been better to 
pass than it is, and one drone should not have driven so many 
bees from their honeycombs. 

Thomas Nashe, Pierce Penilesse 1592 

A Pot-poet 

Is the dregs of wit ; yet mingled with good drink may 
have some relish. His inspirations are more real than others ; 
for they do but feign a god, but he has his by him. His verses 
run like the tap, and his invention, as the barrel, ebbs and 
flows at the mercy of the spiggot. In thin drink he aspires 
not above a ballad, but a cup of sack inflames him, and sets his 
muse and nose afire together. The press is his mint, and 
stamps him now and then a sixpence or two in reward of the 
baser coin, his pamphlet. His works would scarce sell for three 
halfpence, though they are given oft for three shillings, but for 
the pretty title that allures the country gentleman : for which 
the printer maintains him in ale a fortnight. His verses are 
like his clothes, miserable centos and patches, yet their pace is 
not altogether so hobbling as an almanac's. The death of a 
great man or the burning of a house furnish him with an 
argument, and the nine Muses are out straight m mourning 
gown, and Melpomene cries "Fire, Fire." His other poems 
are but briefs in rhyme, and like the poor Greeks' collections to 
redeem from captivity. He is a man now much employed in 



commendations of our navy, and a bitter inveigher against the 
Spaniard. His frequentest works go out in single sheets, and 
are chanted from market to market, to a vile tune and a w^orse 
throat, whilst the poor country wench melts like her butter to 
hear them. And these are the stories of some men of Tyburn 
or a strange monster out of Germany, or, sitting in a bawdy- 
house, he writes God's judgment. He ends at last in some 
obscure painted cloth, to which himself made the verses, and 
his life, like a can too full, spills upon the bench. He leaves 
twenty shillings on the score, which my hostess loses. 

John Earle, Micro-cosmographie 1628 

A worthy poet 

[Had the writer Shakespeare in mind while penning the following ?] 

A worthy poet is the purest essence of a worthy man : he is 
confident of nature in nothing but the form and an ingenious 
fitness to conceive the matter. So he approves nature as the motive, 
not the foundation or structure of his worthiness. His works do 
every w ay pronounce both nouris h^if"^) Hplighf ani? ^dnm;;^;?" 
-tcrTtrgjreacler*s soul : which makes him neither rough, effeminate, 
jjior windy: for by a sweet contemperature of tune and ditty 
he entices others to goodness, and shows himself perfect in the 
lesson. He never writes upon a full stomach and an empty 
head, or a full head and an empty stomach. For he cannot 
make so divine a receptable stoop to the sordid folly of gall or 
envy without strength : or strength of brain stoop, and debase 
itself with hunting out the body's succour. He is not so 
impartial as to condemn every new fashion, or tax idle circum- 
stance; nor so easy as to allow vices, and account them 
generous humours. So he neither seeks to enlarge his credit 
of bitterness by a snarling severity j nor to augment his substance 
by insinuating courtship. He hath more debtors in knowledge 
among the present writers than creditors among the ancient 
poets. He is possessed with an innocent liberty, which ex- 
cludes him from the slavish labour and means of setting a gloss 
upon frail commodities. Whatsoever therefore proceeds from 
him, proceeds without a meaning to supply the worth, when 
the work is ended, by the addition of preparative verses at the 
beginning, or the dispersed hire of acquaintance to extol 
things indifferent. Neither does he passionately affect high 


gatronage,_j)r any, further than he may give freely, and so 
receive back honest thanks. The dangerous name and the 
contempt of poets, sprung from their multitude of corruptions, 
prove no disadvantage or terror to him: for such be his 
antidotes that he can walk untouched, even through the w^orst 
infection. And indeed that mountebank's preparing oil which 
kept his hands unscalded, was a toy of nothing to this poet's rarity 
of discretion, which so prepares his mind, that he can bathe it 
in the strains of burning lust, fury, malice, or despite, and yet 
be never scalded, or endangered by them. He only among 
men is nearest infinite: for in the scenical composures, of a 
tragedy or comedy, he shows the best resemblance of his high 
Creator: turning his quick passions, and witty humours to 
replenish and overcome into matter and form as infinite as 
God's pleasure to diversify mankind. He is no miserable self- 
lover, nor no unbounded prodigal: for he can communicate 
himself wisely to avoid dull reservedness, but not make every 
thought common to maintain his marketnt must be im- 
puted to his~perfect eyesight, that he can see error and avoid 
it without the hazard of a new one: as in poems, so in projects, 
by an easy conjecture. He cannot flatter, nor be flattered: 
he gives desert, hegives no more, and leaves hyperb ole in 
strch^-a-mattST'orinTpoitance. As for himself, he is so well 
known unto himself, that neither public fame, nor yet his own 
conceit, can make him over-valued in himself. He is an enemy 
to atheists; for he is no fatist nor naturalist: he therefore 
excludes luck and rhyme from the acceptance of his poems; 
scorning to acknowledge the one as an efficient, the other as an 
essence, of his muse's favour. He pays back all his imitation 
with interest; whilst his authors (if revived) would confess 
their chief credit was to be such a pattern : otherwise (for the 
most part) he proves himself the pattern, and the project in 
hand. Silver only and sound metal comprehend his nature: 
rubbing, motion, and customary usage, make the brightness 
of both more eminent. No marvel though he be immortal, 
seeing he converts poison into nourishment, even the worst 
objects and societies to a worthy use. When he is lastly silent 
(for he cannot die) he finds a monument prepared at others' cost 
and remembrance, whilst his former actions be a living epitaph. 
John Stephens, Essay es and Characters 1615 
W. K 145 


Bathds and Monsters 

I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream : it shall be 
called Bottom's Dream, because it hath no bottom. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream, iv. i. azi 

falstaff. An I have not ballads made on you all, and sung to filthy 
tunes, let a cup of sack be my poison. 

/ Henry IV., ii. ii. 50 

Cloivn. What hast here ? ballads ? 

Mopsa. Pray now, buy some : I love a ballad in print, o* life, for then 
we are sure they are true. 

Autolycus. Here 's one to a very doleful tune, how a usurer's wife was 
brought to bed of twenty money-bags at a burden j and how she longed 
to eat adders' heads and toads carbonadoed. 

Mopsa. Is it true, think you ? 

Autolycus. Very true, and but a month old. 

Dorcas. Bless me from marrying a usurer I 

* * • . « * • • 

Autolycus. Here's another ballad of a fish that appeared upon the coast 
on Wednesday the fourscore of April, forty thousand fathom above water, 
and sung this ballad against the hard hearts of maids : it was thought she 
was a woman and was turned into a cold fish for she would not exchange 
flesh with one that loved her. The ballad is very pitiful and as true. 

Dorcas. Is is true, think you ? 

Autolycus. Five justices* hands at it, and witnesses more than my pack 
will hold. The H^inter's Tale, iv. iii. 261 — 287 

Another sort of men there are, who, though not addicted to 
such counterfeit curiosity, yet are they infected with a farther 
improbability; challenging knowledge unto themselves of 
deeper mysteries, whenas with Thales Milesius they see not 
what is under their feet; searching more curiously into the 
secrets of nature, whenas in respect of deeper knowledge, 
they seem mere naturals; coveting with the phoenix to 
approach so nigh to the sun, that they are scorched with his 
beams and confounded with his brightness. Who made them 
so privy to the secrets of the Almighty, that they should fore- 
tell the tokens of his wrath, or terminate the time of his 
vengeance? But lightly some news attends the end of every 
term, some monsters are booked, though not bred, against 
vacation times, which are straightway diversely dispersed into 
every quarter, so that at length they become the alehouse talk 
of every carter : yea, the country ploughman feareth a Calabrian 
flood in the midst of a furrow, and the silly shepherd com- 
mitting his wandering sheep to the custody of his wap, in his 



field-naps drcamcth of flying dragons, which for fear lest he 
should see to the loss of his sight, he falleth asleep ; no star he 
seeth in the night but seemeth a comet; he lighteth no sooner 
on a quagmire, but he thinketh this is the foretold earthquake, 
whereof his boy hath the ballad. 

Thus are the ignorant deluded, the simple misused, and the 
sacred science of astronomy discredited ; and in truth what 
leasings will not make-shifts invent for money? What will 
they not feign for gain? Hence come our babbling ballads, 
and our new found songs and sonnets, which every rednose 
fiddler hath at his fingers' ends, and every ignorant ale-knight 
will breathe forth over the pot, as soon as his brain waxeth 
hot. Be it a truth which they would tune, they interlace it 
with a lie or two to make metre, not regarding verity, so they 
may make up the verse; not unlike to Homer, who cared 
not what he feigned, so he might make his countrymen famous. 
But as the straightest things being put into water seem 
crooked, so the crediblest truths if once they come within 
compass of these men's wits, seem tales. Were it that the 
infamy of their ignorance did redound only upon themselves, 
I could be content to apply my speech otherwise than to their 
Apuleian ears, but sith they obtain the name of our English 
poets, and thereby make men think more basely of the wits of 
our country, I cannot but turn them out of their counterfeit 
livery, and brand them in the forehead, that all men may know 
their falsehood. Well may that saying of Campanus be 
applied to our English poets, which he spake of them in his 
time : " They make (saith he) poetry an occupation, lying 
is their living, and fables are their movables; if thou takest 
away trifles, silly souls, they will famish for hunger." It 
were to be wished that the acts of the venturous, and the 
praise of the virtuous were, by public edict, prohibited by such 
men's merry mouths to be so odiously extolled, as rather breeds 
detestation than admiration, loathing than liking. What politic 
councillor or valiant soldier will joy or glory of this, in that 
some stitcher, weaver, spendthrift or fiddler hath shuffled or 
slubbered up a few ragged rimes, in the memorial of the one's 
prudence, or the other's prowess ? It makes the learned sort 
to be silent when they see unlearned sots so insolent. 

Thomas Nashe, The Anatomte of Absurditie 1589 

K2 147 


The Troubles of Authorship 

Theft of Manuscripts 

As touching this short gloss or annotation on the foolish 
Terrors of the Nighty you partly are acquainted from whose 
motive imposition it first proceeded, as also what strange sudden 
cause necessarily produced that motion. A long time since hath 
it lain suppressed by me, until the urgent importunity of a kind 
friend of mine (to whom I was sundry ways beholding) wrested 
a copy from me. That copy progressed from one scrivener's 
shop to another, and at length grew so common that it was 
ready to be hung out for one of their signs, like a pair of 
indentures. Whereupon I thought it as good for me to reap 
the fruit of my own labours, as to let some unskilful pen-man 
or noverint-maker starch his ruff and newspade his beard with 
the benefit he made of them. 

Thomas Nashe, The Terrors of the Night 1594 

Decipherers and Informers 

If but carelessly betwixt sleeping and waking I write 
I know not what against plebeian publicans and sinners (no 
better than the sworn brothers of candlestick-turners and 
tinkers) and leave some terms in suspense that my post-haste 
want of argent will not give me elbow-room enough to 
explain or examine as I would, out steps me an infant 
squib of the Inns of Court, that hath not half greased his 
dining-cap or scarce warmed his lawyer's cushion, and he, to 
approve himself an extravagant statesman, catcheth hold of a 
rush, and absolutely concludeth it is meant of the Emperor of 
Russia, and that it will utterly mar the traffic into that country 
if all the pamphlets be not called in and suppressed, wherein 
that libelling word is mentioned.... 

O, for a legion of mice-eyed decipherers and calculators upon 
characters, now to augurate what I mean by this,... men that 
have no means to purchase credit with their prince, but by 
putting him still in fear and beating into his opinion that they 
are the only preservers of his life, in sitting up night and day 
in sifting out treasons, when they are the most traitors them- 
selves to his life, health and quiet, in continual commacerating 



him with dread and terror, when, but to get a pension or bring 
him in their debt, next to God, for upholding his vital breath, 
it is neither so, nor so, but some fool, some drunken man, 
some madman in an intoxicate humour hath uttered he knew 
not what, and they, being starved for intelligence or want of 
employment, take hold of it with tooth and nail, and in spite 
of the waiters, will violently break into the king's chamber, 
and awake him at midnight to reveal it.... 

I am not against it, (for God forbid I should), that it 
behoves all loyal true subjects to be vigilant and jealous for 
their prince's safety, and, certain, too jealous and vigilant of it 
they cannot be, if they be good princes that reign over them, 
nor use too many means of disquisition by tortures or otherwise 
to discover treasons pretended against them. But upon the 
least wagging of a straw to put them in fear where no fear is, 
and to make a hurly-burly in the realm upon had-I-wist, not 
so much for any zeal or love to their princes or tender care 
of their preservation, as to pick thanks and curry a little favour, 
that thereby they may lay the foundation to build a suit on, or 
cross some great enemy they have, I maintain it is most lewd 
and detestable. I accuse none, but such there have been be- 
longing to princes in former ages, if there be not at this hour. 

Thomas Nashe, Lenten Stuffe 1599 


About the time of the last convocation, I composed a little 
poem, well known throughout this kingdom ; wherein, having 
to conscionable purposes expressed such resolutions as every 
reasonable man should endeavour to entertain, and having, as 
opportunity was offered, glanced also in general terms at the 
reproof of a few things of such nature as I feared might 
disparage or prejudice the commonwealth, some particulars, 
not then in season to be meddled withal, were at unawares so 
nearly touched upon, that I unhappily fell into the displeasure 
of the State: and all my apparent good intentions were so mis- 
taken by the aggravations of some ill-affected towards my 
endeavours, that I was shut up from the society of mankind, 
and, as one unworthy the compassion vouchsafed to thieves 
and murderers, was neither permitted the use of my pen, the 
access or sight of acquaintance, the allowance usually afforded 



other close prisoners, nor means to send for necessaries befitting 
my present condition. By which means I was for many days 
compelled to feed on nothing but the coarsest bread, and some- 
times locked up four and twenty hours together, without so much 
as a drop of water to cool my tongue. And being at the same 
time in one of the greatest extremities of sickness that was 
ever inflicted upon my body, the help both of physician and 
apothecary was uncivilly denied me. So that if God had not 
by resolutions of the mind, which he infused into me, extra- 
ordinarily enabled me to wrestle with those and such other 
afflictions as I was then exercised withal, I had been dangerously 
and everlastingly overcome. 

George Wither, The Schollers Purgatory, c. 1625 

Fashions in books 
I was driven into a quandary, gentlemen, whether I might 
send this my pamphlet to the printer or to the pedlar. I thought 
it too bad for the press, and too good for the pack. But seeing 
my folly in writing to be as great as others', I was willing my 
fortune should be as ill as any man's. We commonly see the book 
that at Christmas lieth bound on the stationer's stall, at Easter 
to be broken in the haberdasher's shop, which sith it is the 
order of proceeding, I am content this winter to have my 
doings read for a toy, that in summer they may be ready for 
trash. It is not strange whenas the greatest wonder lasteth 
but nine days, that a new work should not endure but three 
months. Gentlemen use books as gentlewomen handle their 
flowers, who in the morning stick them in their heads, and at 
night straw them at their heels. Cherries be fulsome when 
they be through ripe, because they be plenty, and books be 
stale when they be printed, in that they be common. In my 
mind printers and tailors are bound chiefly to pray for gentle- 
men ; the one hath so many fantasies to print, the other such 
divers fashions to make, that the pressing iron of the one is never 
out of the fire, nor the printing press of the other at any time 
lieth still. But a fashion is but a day's wearing and a book 
but an hour's reading: which seeing it is so, I am of a 
shoemaker's mind who careth not so the shoe hold the 
plucking on, nor I, so my labours last the running over. 
He that comcth in print because he would be known, is like 


the fool that cometh into the market because he would be seen. 
I am not he that seeketh praise for his labour, but pardon for 
his offence, neither do I set this forth for any devotion in 
print, but for duty which I owe to my patron. If one write 
never so well, he cannot please all, and write he never so ill, 
he shall please some. Fine heads will pick a quarrel with me 
if all be not curious, and flatterers a thank if any thing be 
current. But this is my mind : let him that findeth fault amend 
it, and him that liketh it use it. Envy braggeth, but draweth 
no blood : the malicious have more mind to quip, than might 
to cut. I submit myself to the judgment of the wise, and 
I little esteem the censure of fools. The one will be satisfied 
with reason ; the other are to be answered with silence. I 
know gentlemen will find no fault without cause, and bear with 
those that deserve blame, as for others I care not for their jests, 
for I never meant to make them my judges. 

John Lyly, Euphues, The Anatomy of Wyt 1578 (preface) 

Siaiiomrs, good snxd bad 
An honest stationer is he, that exerciseth his mystery 
(whether it be in printing, binding or selling of books) with 
more respect to the glory of God and the public advantage, 
than to his own commodity; and is both an ornament and 
a profitable member in a civil commonwealth. He is the 
caterer that gathers together provision to satisfy the curious 
appetite of the soul and is careful, to his power, that whatsoever 
he provides shall be such as may not poison or distemper the 
understanding. And seeing the state entrusteth him with the 
disposing of those books, which may both profit and hurt as 
they are applied, like a discreet apothecary in selling poisonous 
drugs, he observes by whom, and to what purpose, such books 
are likely to be bought up, before he will deliver them out of his 
hands. If he be a printer, he makes conscience to exemplify 
his copy fairly and truly. If he be a book-binder, he is careful 
his work may be strong and serviceable. If he be a seller of 
books, he is no mere bookseller, that is one who selleth merely 
ink and paper bundled up together for his own advantage only, 
but he is the chapman of arts, of wisdom and of much experience 
for a little money. He would not publish a book tending to 
schism or protaneness, for the greatest gain; and if you see 



in his shop any books vain or impertinent, it is not so much to 
be imputed his fault, as to the vanity of the times. For when 
books come forth allowed by authority, he holds it his duty 
rather to sell them than to censure them. Yet he meddles, 
as little as he can, with such as he is truly persuaded are 
pernicious or altogether unprofitable. The reputation of scholars 
is as dear unto him as his own, for he acknowledgeth that from 
them his mystery hath both beginning and means of continu- 
ance. He heartily loves and seeks the prosperity of his own 
corporation, yet he would not injure the universities to ad- 
vantage it, nor be so saucy as to make comparisons between 
them. He loves a good author as his brother, and will be 
ready to yield him the due portion of his labours without 
wrangling. When he comes to be master or warden of his 
company, he labours truly to rectify what is amiss, but finds 
so many perversions, and so few of his good mind, that his 
year is out before he can bring any remedy to pass.... 

A mere stationer is he that imagines he was born altogether 
for himself, and exerciseth his mystery without any respect 
either to the glory of God or the public advantage. For which 
cause he is one of the most pernicious superfluities in a Christian 
government, and may well be termed the Devil's seedsman, 
seeing he is the aptest instrument to sow schisms, heresies, 
scandals and seditions through the world. What book soever 
he may have hope to gain by, he will divulge, though it 
contain matter against his prince, against the state, or blas- 
phemy against God. And all his excuse will be that he knew 
not it comprehended any such matter. For (give him his right) 
he scarcely reads over one page of a book in seven year, 
except it be some such history as the Wise men of Gotham^ 
and that he doth furnish himself with some foolish conceits to 
be thought facetious.... He will fawn upon authors at his first 
acquaintance, and ring them to his hive by the promising 
sounds of some good advertisement; but as soon as they have pre- 
pared the honey to his hand, he drives the bees to seek another stall. 
If he be a printer, so his work have such appearance of being 
well done that he may receive his hire, he cares not how 
unworkmanlike it be performed, nor how many faults he let 
go to the author's discredit and the reader's trouble. If his 
employment be in binding books, so they will hold together 



but till his work-master hath sold them, he desireth not they 
should last a week longer ; for by that means a book of a crown 
is marred in one month which would last a hundred years if it 
had twopence more worknlanship, and so their gain and em- 
ployment is increased to the subject's loss. If he be a seller of 
books, he makes no conscience what trash he puts ofF, nor how 
much he takes for that which is worth nothing.,.. He makes 
no scruple to put out the right author's name and insert another 
in the second edition of a book. And when the impression of 
some pamphlet lies upon his hands, to imprint new titles for it 
(and so take men's moneys twice or thrice for the same matter 
under diverse names) is no injury in his opinion. If he get 
any written copy into his power likely to be vendible, whether 
the author be willing or no, he will publish it. And it shall be 
contrived and named also according to his own pleasure, which 
is the reason so many good books come forth imperfect and 
with foolish titles. 

Georgb Wither, The Schollers Purgatory ^ c. 1625 

A Bookseller ai his stall in PauVs Churchward 

If I were to paint Sloth... by Saint John the Evangelist I 
swear, I would draw it like a stationer that I know, with his 
thumb under his girdle, who if a man come to his stall and ask 
him for a book, never stirs his head, or looks upon him, but stands 
stone still, and speaks not a word: only with his little finger 
points backwards to his boy, who must be his interpreter, and 
so all the day, gaping like a dumb image, he sits without 
motion, except at such times as he goes to dinner or supper: 
for then he is as quick as other three, eating six times every 

Thomas Nashe, Pierce Penilesse 159a 




Duke, ^This^HJd e and unive rsal theatre 

^resentsmore woful pageaHts~than the scen e 
"^ here in we play' in. 
Jaques. All the world *s a stage, 

And all the men and women merely players; 
They have their exits and their entrances ; 
And one man in his time plays many parts, 
His acts being seven ages. 

As You Like It, ii. vii. 137 — 143 

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player 

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, 

And then is heard no more. Macbeth^ v. v. 24 — 26 

Alas! 'tis true I have gone here and there, 

And made myself a motley to the view, 

Gor'd mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear, 

Made old offences of affections new. Sonnet ex 

O ! for my sake do you with Fortune chide. 

The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds. 

That did not better for my life provide 

Than public means which public manners breeds. 

Thence comes it that my name receives a brand. 

And almost thence my nature is subdu'd 

To what it works in, like the dyer's hand. 

Sonnet cxi 


An Elizabethan Stage 

as imagined by a modern scholar 

§ I. Theatrical and dramatic conditions in 1580 

[About 1580 Elizabethan drama began its course. Shakespeare 
probably came to London in 1586.] 

And so our scene must to the battle fly; 
Where, — O for pity, — we shall much disgrace, 
With four or five most vile and ragged foils, 
Right ill dispos'd in brawl ridiculous. 
The name of Agincourt. Yet, sit and see ; 
Minding true things by what their mockeries be. 

Henry V.^ iv. chorus 48 — 53 

Polonius. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, 
history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, 
tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited : 
Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light. 

Hamlety 11. ii. 424 — 429 

Esthetic condemnMion 

[Sir Philip Sidney criticizes the theatre of his day by classical standards, 
but his remarks throw considerable light upon the state of the drama.] 

Our tragedies and comedies (not without cause cried out 
against), observing rules neither of honest civility nor of skilful 
poetry, excepting Gorboduc (again, I say, of those that I have 
seen), which, notwithstanding as it is full of stately speeches 
and well-sounding phrases, climbing to the height of Seneca his 
style, and as full of notable morality, which it doth most 
delightfully teach, and so obtain the very end of poesy, yet in 
troth it is very defections in the circumstances ; which grieveth 
me, because it might not remain as an exact model of all 
tragedies. For it is faulty both in place and time, the two 
necessary companions of all corporal actions. For where the 
stage should always represent but one place, and the uttermost 
time presupposed in it should be, both by Aristotle's precept 
and common reason, but one day, there is both many days 
and many places, inartificially imagined. But if it be so in 
Gorboduc, how much more in all the rest? where you shall 
have Asia of the one side, and Afric of the other, and so many 
other under-kingdoms, that the player, when he cometh in, 
must ever begin with telling where he is : or else, the tale will 
not be conceived. Now ye shall have three ladies walk to 
gather flowers, and then we must believe the stage to be a 
garden. By and by, we hear news of shipwreck in the same 
place, and then we arc to blame, if we accept it not for a rock, 



Upon the back of that, comes out a hideous monster with 
fire and smoke, and then the miserable beholders are bound to 
take it for a cave. While in the mean-time two armies fly in, 
represented with four swords and bucklers, and then what hard 
heart will not receive it for a pitched field ? Now of time 
they are much more liberal, for ordinary it is that two young 
princes fall in love. After many traverses, she is got with child, 
delivered of a fair boy, he is lost, groweth a man, falls in love, 
and is ready to get another child; and all this in two hours' space: 
which how absurd it is in sense, even sense may imagine, and 
art hath taught, and all ancient examples justified, and at this 
day the ordinary players in Italy will not err in. Yet will 
some bring in an example of Eunuchus in Terence, that con- 
taineth matter of two days, yet far short of twenty years. True 
it is, and so was it to be played in two days, and so fitted to the 
time it set forth. And though Plautus hath in one place done 
amiss, let us hit with him, and not miss with him. But they will 
say, how then shall we set forth a story, which containeth both 
many places and many times ? And do they not know, that 
a tragedy is tied to the laws of poesy, and not of history ? not 
bound to follow the story, but having liberty either to feign a 
quite new matter, or to frame the history to the most tragical 
conveniency. Again many things may be told which cannot 
be shewed, if they know the difference betwixt reporting and 
representing. As for example, I may speak (though I am here) 
of Peru, and in speech digress from that to the description of 
Calicut : but in action, I cannot represent it without Pacolet's 
horse : and so was the manner the ancients took, by some 
Nuncius to recount things done in former time, or other place. 
Lastly, if they will represent an history, they must not (as 
Horace saith) begin ab ovoy but they must come to the 
principal of that one action which they will represent. By 
example this will be best expressed. I have a story of young 
Polidorus, delivered for safety's sake, with great riches, by his 
father Priamus to Polimnestor king of Thrace, in the Trojan 
war time : he after some years, hearing the overthrow of 
Priamus, for to make the treasure his own murdered the child : 
the body of the child is taken up by Hecuba : she the same 
day findeth a slight to be revenged most cruelly of the tyrant. 
Where now would one of our tragedy writers begin, but with 
the delivery of the child ? Then should he sail over into 



Thrace, and so spend I know not how many years, and travel 
numbers of places. But where doth Euripides ? Even with 
the finding of the body, leaving the rest to be told by the spirit 
of Polidorus. This need no further to be enlarged ; the dullest 
wit may conceive it. 

But besides these gross absurdities, how all their plays be 
neither right tragedies nor right comedies : mingling kings and 
clowns, not because the matter so carrieth it, but thrust in 
clowns by head and shoulders, to play a part in majestical 
matters, with neither decency nor discretion. So as neither the 
admiration and commiseration nor the right sportfulness is by 
their mongrel tragi-comedy obtained. I know Apuleius did 
somewhat so, but that is a thing recounted with space of time, 
not represented in one moment : and I know the ancients 
have one or two examples of tragi-comedies, as Plautus hath 
Amphitrioy but if we mark them well, we shall find, that they 
never or very daintily match horn-pipes and funerals. So 
falleth it out, that having indeed no right comedy, in that 
comical part of our tragedy we have nothing but scurrility, 
unworthy of any chaste ears, or some extreme shew of doltish- 
ness, indeed fit to lift up a loud laughter and nothing else : 
where the whole tract of a comedy should be full of delight, as 
the tragedy should be still maintained in a well-raised admira- 
tion. But our comedians think there is no delight without 
laughter ; which is very wrong, for though laughter may come 
with delight, yet cometh it not of delight, as though delight 
should be the cause of laughter : but well may one thing breed 
both together ; nay, rather in themselves they have as it were 
a kind of contrariety. For delight we scarcely do but in things 
that have a conveniency to ourselves or to the general nature. 
Laughter almost ever cometh of things most disproportioned to 
ourselves and nature. Delight hath a joy in it, either per- 
manent or present. Laughter hath only a scornful tickling.... 

But I have lavished out too many words of this play matter. 
I do it because as they are excelling parts of poesy, so is there 
none so much used in England and none can be more pitifully 
abused : which like an unmannerly daughter, shewing a bad 
education, causeth her mother Poesy's honesty to be called in 

Sir Philip Sidney, An Apologue for Poetrie 1595 (written in 1581) 


Moral condemnation 

The writers of our time are so led away with vainglory, 
that their only endeavour is to pleasure the humour of men ; 
and rather with vanity to content their minds, than to profit 
them with good ensample. The notablest liar is become the 
best poet ; he that can make the most notorious lie, and 
disguise falsehood in such sort that he may pass unperceived, 
is held the best writer. For the strangest comedy brings 
greatest delectation and pleasure. Our nature is led away 
with vanity, which the author perceiving frames himself with 
novelties and strange trifles to content the vain humours of his 
rude auditors, feigning countries never heard of; monsters and 
prodigious creatures that are not, as of the Arimaspi, of the 
Grips, the Pigmies, the Cranes, and other such notorious lies. 
And if they write of histories that are known, as the life of 
Pompey, the martial aflPairs of Caesar and other worthies, they 
give them a new face, and turn them out like counterfeits to 
show themselves on the stage. It was therefore aptly applied 
of him who likened the writers of our days unto tailors, who 
having their shears in their hand, can alter the fashion of any- 
thing into another form ; and with a new face make that seem 
new which is old. The shreds of whose curiosity our historians 
have now stolen from them, being by practice become as 
cunning as the tailor to set a new upper body to an old coat, 
and a patch of their own to a piece of another. 

A second and third blast of retrait jrotn plates and Theatres 1580 

The argument of tragedies is wrath, cruelty, incest, injury, 
murder, either violent by sword or voluntary by poison ; the 
persons, gods, goddesses, furies, fiends, kings, queens and 
mighty men. The ground-work of comedies, is love, cozenage, 
flattery, bawdry, sly conveyance of whoredom ; the persons, 
cooks, queans, knaves, bawds, parasites, courtezans, lecherous 
old men, amorous young men. Therefore Plautus in his 
prologue before the comedy of The Captives^ desiring to curry 
favour with his auditors, exhorteth them earnestly to mark that 
play, because it shall cast no such stench of impurity into their 
noses as others do. There is in it (saith he) neither forsworn 
bawd, nor harlot, nor bragging soldier. Why could he not 



give this commendation to all the rest ? Because it was the 
practice of the devil, to weave in a thread of his own spinning. 
Why is this rather purged of filthiness than the rest ? Because 
it is the juggling of the devil, to turn himself sometimes to an 
angel of light, to deceive us the sooner. The best play you 
can pick out, is but a mixture of good and evil, how can it be 
then the schoolmistress of life ? The beholding of troubles and 
miserable slaughters that are in tragedies drive us to immoderate 
sorrow, heaviness, womanish weeping and mourning, whereby 
we become lovers of dumps and lamentation, both enemies to 
fortitude. C omedies so tickle our senses with^ a pleasanter, 
vein, that they make us lovers of laughter ^nd pleasure, 
Without an y mean, both foes to tempera nce. What schooling 
is this ? "Sometime you shall see nothing but the adventures of 
an amorous knight, passing from country to country for the 
love of his lady, encountering many a terrible monster made of 
brown paper, and at his return is so wonderfully changed, that 
he cannot be known but by some posy in his tablet, or by a 
broken ring, or a handkercher, or a piece of a cockle shell. 
What learn you by that ? When the soul of your plays is either 
mere trifles, or Italian bawdry, or wooing of gentlewomen, 
what are ye taught ? Peradventure you will say, that by these 

kind of plays the authc ? jps^"'""^*' "° how to — love with . 

constancy, t o sug,^ith modesty, and to loath whaKn evpr is 

contrary unto us. opinmnj thf* Hisripline we get by 

-pTays is like to the justice_th ^t a certa in schoolmaster taught iiL 

Tefsra ; which taugHrTiirichol ars__tgJiie_. and not to lie, to 

-deceiTe and not to deceiveTWit h_a distinction hnw they might 

"d o it to their friendlj, "aiTd how to their enemies ; to their 

friends, for exercise ; to their foes, in earnest. Wherein many 

of his scholars became so skilful by practise, by custom so bold, 

that their dearest friends paid more for their learning than their 

enemies. I would wish the players to beware of this kind of 

schooling, lest that whilst they teach youthful gentlemen how 

to love and not to love, how to woo and not to woo, their 

scholars grow as cunning as the Persians, 

Stephen Gosson, Playes Qonfuied in Jive Actions 158a 



§ 2. Playhouses and Bear-gardens 

But pardon, gentles all. 
The flat unraised spirits that have dar'd 
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth 
So great an object : can this cockpit hold 
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram 
Within this wooden O the very casques 
That did affright the air at Agincourt? 

Henry V., I. chorus, 8 — 14 

Th& earliest London public iheaires, erected t575 — 1576 

[Before this plays had mostly been performed in the inn-yards of the 

This priory [of Holywell] was valued at the suppression to 
have lands two hundred and ninety-three pounds by the year, and 
was surrendered 1539, the 31st of Henry VIII. The church 
thereof being pulled down, many houses have been built for the 
lodgings of noblemen, of strangers born and others. And near 
thereunto, are builded two public houses for the acting and shew 
of comedies, tragedies and histories, for recreation. Whereof 
the one is called the Curtain, the other the Theater : both 
standing on the south-west side towards the field. 

John Stow, A Survey of London 1598 

A German describes English theatres and bear-gardens 

Without the city are some theatres, where English actors 
represent almost every day comedies and tragedies to very 
numerous audiences ; these are concluded with variety of 
dances, accompanied by excellent music and the excessive 
applause of those that are present. Not far from one of these 
theatres, which are all built of wood, lies the royal barge, 
close to the river Thames. It has two splendid cabins, beauti- 
fully ornamented with glass windows, painting and gilding; 
it is kept upon dry ground, and sheltered from the weather. 

There is still another place, built in the form of a theatre, 
which serves for the baiting of bears and bulls. They are 
fastened behind, and then worried by those great English dogs 
and mastiffs, but not without great risk to the dogs from the 
teeth of the one and the horns of the other j and it sometimes 



happens they are killed upon the spot. Fresh ones are im- 
mediately supplied in the places of those that are wounded 
or tired. To this entertainment there often follows that of 
whipping a blinded bear, which is performed by five or six 
men, standing in a circle with whips, which they exercise upon 
him without any mercy. Although he cannot escape from 
them because of his chain, he nevertheless defends himself, 
vigorously throwing down all who come within his reach and 
are not active enough to get out of it, and tearing the whips 
out of their hands and breaking them. At these spectacles 
and everywhere else, the English are cciistantly smoking the 
Nicotian weed which in America is called Tobaca — others 
call it Paetum — and generally in this manner : they have 
pipes on purpose made of clay, into the farther end of which 
they put the herb, so dry that it may be rubbed into powder, 
and lighting it, they draw the smoke into their mouths, which 
they puff out again through their nostrils, like funnels, along 
with it plenty of phlegm and defluxion from the head. In these 
theatres, fruits, such as apples, pears and nuts, according to the 
season, are carried about to be sold, as well as wine and ale. 
Paul Hentzner, Travels in England 1598 [Rye] 

Structure of an Etizabeihan playhouse 

[The Globe theatre, which is here taken as a model, was the playhouse 
in which Shakespeare acted.] 

...The frame of the said house to be set square and to contain 
four score foot of lawful assize every way square without, and 
fifty-five foot of like assize square every way within, with a good, 
sure and strong foundation of piles, brick, lime and sand both 
without and within to be wrought one foot of assize at the least 
above the ground. And the said frame to contain three storeys in 
height, the first or lower storey to contain twelve foot of lawful 
assize in height, the second storey eleven foot of lawful assize 
in height, and the third or upper storey to contain nine foot of 
lawful assize in height. All which storeys shall contain twelve 
foot and a half of lawful assize in breadth throughout, besides a 
jutty forwards in either of the said two upper storeys of ten 
inches of lawful assize, with four convenient divisions foi 
gentlemen's rooms and other sufficient and convenient divisions 

W. L 161 


for two-penny rooms, with necessary seats to be placed and set 
as well in those rooms as throughout ail the rest of the galleries 
of the said house and with such-like stairs, conveyances and 
divisions without and within as are made and contrived in and 
to the late erected playhouse on the Bank, in the said parish of 
St Saviour's, called the Globe; with a stage and tiring-house 
to be made, erected and set up within the said frame with a 
shadow or cover on the said stage... 

And which stage shall contain in length forty and three 
foot of lawful assize and in breadth to extend to the middle of 
the yard of the said house. The same stage to be paled in 
below with good, strong and sufficient new oaken boards, and 
likewise the lower storey of the said frame withinside ; and 
the same lower storey to be also laid over and fenced with 
strong iron pikes. And the said stage to be in all other pro- 
portions contrived and fashioned like unto the stage of the said 
play-house called the Globe, with convenient windows and 
lights glazed to the said tiring-house, and the said frame, stage 
and staircases to be covered with tile and to have a sufficient 
gutter of lead to carry and convey the water from the covering 
of the said stage to fall backwards. And also all the said frame 
and the staircases thereof to be sufficiently enclosed without 
with lath, lime and hair, and the gentlemen's rooms and two- 
penny rooms to be sealed with lath, lime and hair, and all the 
floors of the said galleries, storeys and stage to be boarded with 
good and sufficient new deal' boards of whole thickness where 
need shall be. And the said house, and other things before- 
mentioned, to be made and done, to be in all other contrivitions, 
conveyances, fashions, thing and things effected, finished and 
done, according to the manner and fashion of the said house 
called the Globe, saving only that all the principal and main 
posts of the said frame and stage forward shall be square and 
wrought pilaster-wise with carved proportions called satyrs to 
be placed and set on the top of every of the same posts.... 

Contract for building the Fortune Theatre at the cost of £^4.0 

(dated Jan. 8, x6oo) 



Time, place, subject, actors and clothes either make or 
mar a play. The prologue and epilogue are like to an host and 
hostess, one bidding their guests welcome, the other bidding 
them farewell. The actors are like servingmen, that bring in 
the scenes and acts as their meat, which are liked or disliked, 
according to every man's judgment ; the neatest drest and 
fairest delivered doth please most. They are as crafty with an 
old play, as bawds with old faces ; the one puts on a new fresh 
colour, the other a new face and name. They practise a strange 
order, for most commonly the wisest man is the fool. They are 
much beholden to scholars that are out of means, for they sell 
them ware the cheapest. They have no great reason to love 
Puritans, for they hold their calling unlawful. New plays and 
new clothes many times help bad actions. They pray the 
company that's in to hear them patiently, yet they would not 
suffer them to come in without payment. They say as scholars 
now use to say, there are so many, that one fox could find in 
his heart to eat his fellow. A player often changes: now he 
acts a monarch, to-morrow a beggar ; now a soldier, next a 
tailor. Their speech is loud, but never extempore ; he seldom 
speaks his own mind, or in his own name. When men are 
here, and when at church, they are of contrary minds; there 
they think the time too long, but here too short. Most 
commonly when the play is done, you shall have a jig or dance 
of all treads ; they mean to put their legs to it, as well as their 
tongues. They make men wonder when they have done, for 
they all clap their hands. Sometimes they fly into the country ; 
but 'tis a suspicion that they are either poor, or want clothes, or 
else company, or a new play : or do, as some wandering sermonists, 
make one sermon travail [ r travel] and serve twenty churches. All 
their care is to be like apes, to imitate and express other men's 
actions in their own persons. They love not the company of 
geese or serpents, because of their hissing. They are many times 
lousy, it's strange, and yet shift so often. As an ale-house in the 
country is beholden to a wild schoolmaster, so an whore-house 
to some of these, for they both spend all they get. Well, I 
like them well, if when they act vice they will leave it, and 
when virtue they will follow. I speak no more of them, but 
when I please I will come and see them. 

Donald Lupton, London and the Countrey carbonadoed 163* 

L2 163 


English and liallan iheaires compared 

An Englishman in l^enice 

I was at one of their play-houses, where I saw a comedy 
acted. The house is very beggarly and base in comparison of 
our stately play-houses in England : neither can their actors 
compare with us for apparel, shews and music. Here I 
observed certain things that I never saw before. For I saw 
women act, a thing that I never saw before, though I have 
heard that it hath been sometimes used in London ; and they 
performed it with as good a grace, action, gesture and whatso- 
ever convenient for a player, as ever I saw any masculine actor. 
Also their noble and favourite courtezans came to this comedy, 
but so disguised, that a man cannot perceive them. For they 
wore double masks upon their faces, to the end they might not 
be seen ; one reaching from the top of their forehead to their 
chin, and under their neck ; another with twisks of downy or 
woolly stuff covering their noses. And as for their necks 
round about, they were so covered and wrapped with cobweb 
lawn and other things, that no part of their skin could be 
discerned. Upon their heads they wore little black felt caps 
very like to those of the clarissimoes that I will hereafter speak 
of. Also each of them wore a black short taffeta cloak. 
They were so graced, that they sat on high alone by themselves, 
in the best room of all the play-house. If any man should be 
so resolute to unmask one of them but in merriment only to 
see their faces, it is said that — were he never so noble or worthy 
a personage — he should be cut in pieces before he should come 
forth of the room, especially if he were a stranger. I saw some 
men also in the play-house, disguised in the same manner with 
double vizards : those were said to be the favourites of the same 
courtezans. They sit not here in galleries as we do in London ; 
for there is but one or two little galleries in the house, wherein 
the courtezans only sit. But all the men do sit beneath in the 
yard or court, every man upon his several stool, for the which 
he payeth a gazet. 

Thomas Coryat, Crudities i6ii 




York. Call hither to the stake my two brave bears, 

That with the very shaking of their chains 
They may astonish these fell-lurking curs. 
« « • » * 

Clifford. Are these thy bears? we'll bait thy bears to death 
And manacle the bear-ward in their chains, 
If thou dar'st bring them to the baiting-place. 

Richard, Oft have I seen a hot o'er-weening cur 

Run back and bite, because he was withheld ; 
Who, being sufFer'd with the bear's fell paw, 
Hath clapp'd his tail between his legs, and cried. 

2 Henry n., v. i. 144 — 154 

This may better be termed a foul den than a fair garden. 
It's pity so good a piece of ground is no better employed. 
Here are cruel beasts in it, and as badly used ; here are foul 
beasts come to it, and as bad or worse keep it ; they are fitter for 
a wilderness than a city. Idle base persons (most commonly) 
that want employment, or else will not be otherwise employed, 
frequent this place ; and that money which was got basely here, 
to maintain as bad as themselves, or spent lewdly. Here come 
few that either regard their credit or loss of time : the swagger- 
ing roarer, the cunning cheater, the rotten bawd, the swearing 
drunkard and the bloody butcher have their rendezvous here, 
and are of chief place and respect. There are as many civil 
religious men here, as they're saints in hell. Here these are made 
to fight by art which would agree by nature. They thrive most 
when the poor beasts fight oftenest : their employment is all 
upon quarrels as unlawful as unseemly. They cause the beasts 
first to fight, and then they put in first to part them. It's pity 
such beastly fellows should be so well maintained ; they torment 
poor creatures, and make a gains and game of it. The beasts 
come forth with as ill a will, as bears to the stake. A bear- 
ward and an attorney are not much unlike ; the attorney seems 
the more cruel, for these bait but beasts, but these men — tlieir 
clients ; the bear- ward strives to recover the hurts of his beasts, 
but the attorney regards not the damages of any, and they both 
follow the trade for profit. Well, I leave the place, and when 
I intend to spend an hour or two to see an ass and an ape to 
loss and charges, I may perhaps come hither : but as long as I 
can have any employment elsewhere, I will not come to see 
such a great company so ill occupied, in so bad a place. 

Donald Lupton, London and the Countrey carbonadoed 1631 



§ 3. The Audience 

If the tag-rag people did not clap him and hiss him, according as he 
pleased and displeased them, as they use to do the players in the theatre, 
I am no true man. Julius Caesar j l. ii. 260 — 264. 

These are the youths that thunder at a playhouse, and fight for bitten 
apples. Henry Fill., v. iv. 6$ 

General hehavwur 

In our assemblies at plays in London, you shall see such 
heaving, and shoving, such itching and shouldering to sit by 
women : such care for their garments, that they be not trod 
on : such eyes to their laps, that no chips light in them : such 
pillows to their backs, that they take no hurt : such masking in 
their ears, I know not what : such giving them pippins to pass 
the time : such playing at foot-saunt without cards : such 
tickling, such toying, such smiling, such winking, and such 
manning them home, when the sports are ended, that it is a 
right comedy to mark their behaviour, to watch their conceits, 
as the cat for the mouse, and as good as a course at the game 
itself, to dog them a little, or follow aloof by the print of their 
feet, and so discover by slot where the deer taketh soil. If this 
were as well noted as ill seen, or as openly punished as secretly 
practised, I have no doubt but the cause would be seared to 
dry up the effect, and these pretty rabbits very cunningly 
ferreted from their burrows. For they that lack customers 
all the week, either because their haunt is unknown, or the 
constables and officers of their parish watch them so narrowly 
that they dare not quetch, to celebrate the sabbath flock to 
theatres, and there keep a general market of bawdry. Not that 
any filthiness in deed is committed within the compass of that 
ground, as was done in Rome, but that every wanton and his 
paramour, every man and his mistress, every John and his Joan, 
every knave and his quean, are there first acquainted and cheapen 
the merchandise in that place, which they pay for elsewhere as 
they can agree. 

Stephen Gossok, 2'he Schcole 0/ Abuse 1579 



In Rome it was the fashion of wanton young men to place 

themselves as nigh as they could to the courtezans, to present 
them pomegranates, to play with their garments, and wait on 
them home, when the sport was done. In the playhouses at 
London it is the fashion of youths to go first into the yard, and 
to carry their eye through every gallery, then like unto ravens 
where they spy the carrion thither they fly, and press as near to 
the fairest as they can. Instead of pomegranates they give them 
pippins, they dally with their garments to pass the time, they 
minister talk upon all occasions, and either bring them home to 
their houses on small acquaintance, or slip into taverns when the 
plays are done. He thinketh best of his painted sheath, and 
taketh himself for a jolly fellow, that is noted of most to be 
busiest with women in all such places. This open corruption 
is a prick in the eyes of them that see it, and a thorn in the 
sides of the godly, when they hear it. This is a poison to 
beholders, and a nursery of idleness to the players. 

Stephen Gosson, Playes Confuted in Ji've Actions 1582 

Ho'w a gallant should behave himself in a play-house 
The theatre is your poets' Royal Exchange, upon which 
their muses (that are now turned to merchants) meeting, barter 
away that light commodity of words for a lighter ware than 
words— plaudities and the breath of the great beast, which, like 
the threatenings of two cowards, vanish all into air. Players 
and their factors, who put away the stuiF, and make the best of 
it they possibly can (as indeed 'tis their parts so to do) your 
gallant, your courtier and your captain had wont to be the 
soundest paymasters, and, I think, are still the surest chapmen : 
and these, by means that their heads are well stocked, deal upon 
this comical freight by the gross ; when your groundling and 
gallery-commoner buys his sport by the penny ; and, like a 
haggler, is glad to utter it again by retailing. 

Sithence then the place is so free in entertainment, allowing 
a stool as well to the farmer's son as to your Templar ; that 
your stinkard has the selfsame liberty to be there in his tobacco- 
fumes, which your sweet courtier hath ; and that your carman 
and tinker claim as strong a voice in their suffrage, and sit to 
give judgment on the play's life and death, as well as the 
proudest Momus among the tribe of critic : it is fit that 



he, whom the most tailors' bills do make room for, when 
he comes should not be basely (like a viol) cased up in a 

Whether therefore the gatherers of the public or private 
play-house stand to receive the afternoon's rent, let our gallant, 
having paid it, presently advance himself up to the throne of the 
stage. I mean not into the lords' room, which is now but the 
stage's suburbs — no, those boxes, by the iniquity of custom, 
conspiracy of waiting-women and gentlemen-ushers that there 
sweat together, and the covetousness of sharers, are con- 
temptibly thrust into the rear ; and much new satin is there 
damned, by being smothered to death in darkness — but on the 
very rushes where the comedy is to dance, yea, and under the 
state of Cambyses himself, must our feathered ostrich, like a 
piece of ordnance, be planted valiantly, because impudently, 
beating down the mews and hisses of the opposed rascality. 

For do but cast up a reckoning ; what large comings-in 
are pursed up by sitting on the stage ? First a conspicuous 
eminence is gotten, by which means the best and most 
essential parts of a gallant (good clothes, a proportionable leg, 
white hand, the Persian lock and a tolerable beard) are perfectly 

By sitting on the stage you have a signed patent to engross 
the whole commodity of censure, may lawfully presume to be a 
girder, and stand at the helm to steer the passage of scenes ; yet 
no man shall once offer to hinder you from obtaining the title 
of an insolent overweening coxcomb. 

By sitting on the stage you may, without travelling for it, 
at the very next door ask whose play it is ; and by that 
quest of inquiry the law warrants you to avoid much mistaking. 
If you know not the author, you may rail against him, and 
peradventure so behave yourself, that you may enforce the author 
to know you. 

By sitting on the stage, if you be a knight, you may happily 
get you a mistress ; if a mere Fleet-street gentleman, a wife : 
but assure yourself, by continual residence, you are the first 
and principal man in election to begin the number of "We 

By spreading your body on the stage, and by being a justice in 
examining of plays, you shall put yourself into such true scenical 



authority, that some poet shall not dare to present his muse 
rudely upon your eyes, without having first unmasked her, rifled 
her, and discovered all her bare and most mystical parts before 
you at a tavern ; when you most knightly shall, for his pains, 
pay for both their suppers. 

By sitting on the stage you may, with small cost, purchase 
the dear acquaintance of the boys ; have a good stool for six- 
pence; at any time know what particular part any of the 
infants present ; get your match lighted; examine the play-suits' 
lace, and perhaps win wagers upon laying it is copper, &c. 
And to conclude, whether you be a fool or a justice of peace ; 
a cuckold or a captain ; a lord-mayor's son or a dawcock ; a 
knave or an undersheriflF; of what stamp soever you be, 
current or counterfeit, the stage, like time, will bring you to 
most perfect light, and lay you open. Neither are you to be 
hunted from thence, though the scarecrows in the yard hoot 
at you, hiss at you, spit at you, yea throw dirt even in your 
teeth: 'tis most gentlemanlike patience to endure all this and 
to laugh at the silly animals. But if the rabble with a full 
throat cry : " Away with the fool ! '* you were worse than a 
madman to tarry by it ; for the gentleman and the fool should 
never sit on the stage together. 

Marry ; let this observation go hand in hand with the rest ; 
or rather like a country serving-man some five yards before 
them. Present not yourself on the stage, especially at a new 
play, until the quaking Prologue hath by rubbing got colour 
into his cheeks, and is ready to give the trumpets their cue that 
he is upon point to enter ; for then it is time, as though you 
were one of the properties, or that you dropped out of the hang- 
ings, to creep from behind the arras, with your tripos or three- 
footed stool in one hand and a teston mounted between a 
fore-finger and a thumb in the other ; for, if you should bestow 
your person upon the vulgar, when the belly of the house is but 
half full, your apparel is quite eaten up, the fashion lost, and the 
proportion of your body in more danger to be devoured than 
if it were served up in the Counter amongst the poultry : avoid 
that as you would the bastone. It shall crown you with rich 
commendation to laugh aloud in the midst of the most serious 
and saddest scene of the terriblest tragedy ; and to let that 
clapper, your tongue, be tossed so high, that all the house may 

• 169 


ring of it. Your lords use it ; your knights are apes to the lords, 
and do so too ; your Inn-a-court man is zany to the knights, 
and (many very scurvily) comes likewise limping after it. Be 
thou a beagle to them all, and never lin snuffing till you have 
scented them : for by talking and laughing, like a ploughman 
in a morris, you heap Pelion upon Ossa, glory upon glory. As 
first, all the eyes in the galleries will leave walking after the 
players, and only follow you ; the simplest dolt in the house 
snatches up your name, and, when he meets you in the streets, 
or that you fall into his hands in the middle of a watch, his 
word shall be taken for you ; he'll cry " He's such a gallant," 
and you pass. Secondly, you publish your temperance to the 
world, in that you seem not to resort thither to taste vain pleasures 
with a hungry appetite, but only as a gentleman to spend a 
foolish hour or two, because you can do nothing else. Thirdly, 
you mightily disrelish the audience, and disgrace the author : 
marry, you take up, though it be at the worst hand, a strong 
opinion of your own judgment, and enforce the poet to take 
pity of your weakness, and by some dedicated sonnet to bring 
you into a better paradise, only to stop your mouth. 

If you can either for love or money, provide yourself a 
lodging by the water-side ; for, above the convenience it brings 
to shun shoulder-clapping, and to ship away your cockatrice 
betimes in the morning, it adds a kind of state unto you to be 
carried from thence to the stairs of your playhouse. Hate a 
sculler, remember that, worse than to be acquainted with one 
o' th' scullery. No, your oars are your only sea-crabs, board 
them, and take heed you never go twice together with one pair ; 
often shifting is a great credit to gentlemen, and that dividing 
of your fare will make the poor water-snakes be ready to pull 
you in pieces to enjoy your custom. No matter whether, upon 
landing, you have money, or no j you may swim in twenty of 
their boats over the river upon ticket : marry, when silver 
comes in, remember to pay treble their fare ; and it will make 
your flounder-catchers to send more thanks after you when you 
do not draw, than when you do : for they know it will be their 
own another day. 

Before the play begins, fall to cards ; you may win or lose, 
as fencers do in a prize, and beat one another by confederacy, 
yet share the money when you meet at supper. Notwithstanding, 



to gull the ragamuffins that stand aloof gaping at you, throw 
the cards, having first torn four or five of them, round about the 
stage, just upon the third sound, as though you had lost. It skills 
not if the four knaves lie on their backs, and outface the 
audience ; there's none such fools as dare take exceptions at 
them, because, ere the play go ofi^, better knaves than they will 
fall into the company. 

Now, sir ; if the writer be a fellow that hath either epi- 
grammed you, or hath had a flirt at your mistress, or hath 
brought either your feather, or your red beard, or your little 
legs, &c., on the stage ; you shall disgrace him worse than by 
tossing him in a blanket, or giving him the bastinado in a tavern, 
if, in the middle of his play, be it pastoral or comedy, moral or 
tragedy, you rise with a screwed and discontented face from 
your stool to be gone. No matter whether the scenes be good, 
or no ; the better they are, the worse do you distaste them. And, 
being on your feet, sneak not away like a coward ; but salute 
all your gentle acquaintance, that are spread either on the rushes, 
or on stools about you; and draw what troop you can from the 
stage after you. The mimics are beholden to you for allowing 
them elbow-room : their poet cries perhaps, " A pox go with 
you " ; but care not for that ; there's no music without frets. 

Marry ; if either the company or indisposition of the 
weather bind you to sit it out, my counsel is then that you 
turn plain ape. Take up a rush, and tickle the earnest ears of 
your fellow gallants, to make other fools fall a laughing ; mew 
at passionate speeches ; blare at merry ; find fault with the 
music ; whew at the children's action ; whistle at the songs ; 
and, above all, curse the sharers, that whereas the same day you 
had bestowed forty shillings on an embroidered felt and feather, 
Scotch fashion, for your mistress in the court, or your punk in 
the city, within two hours after you encounter with the very 
same block on the stage, when the haberdasher swore to you the 
impression was extant but that morning. 

To conclude. Hoard up the finest play-scraps you can get ; 
upon which your lean wit may most savourly feed, for want of 
other stuff, when the Arcadian and Euphuized gentlewomen have 
their tongues sharpened to set upon you : that quality (next 
to your shuttlecock) is the only furniture to a courtier that's 
but a new beginner, and is but in his A B C of compliment. 



The next places that are filled, after the play-houses be emptied, 
are, or ought to be, taverns ; into a tavern then let us next 
march, where the brains of one hogshead must be beaten out to 
make up another. 

Thomas Dekkbr, The Gulls Horne-booke 1609 

§4. The Actor and his craft 

...A strutting player, whose conceit 
Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich 
To hear the wooden dialogue and sound 
'Twixt his stretch'd footing and the scafFoldage. 

Tro'tlui and Cressida, l. iii. 153 — 156 

Shakespeare's opinion 

Hamlet, Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it 
to you, trippingly on the tongue ; but if you mouth it, as many 
of your players do, I had as lief the tow^n-crier spoke my lines. 
Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus ; but 
use all gently : for in the very torrent, tempest, and — as I 
rna y say— whirlwind o f passion, you must Require and_ begeLJL. 
. temperance, that may give it srnobthness. O ! it offends me to 
the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion 
to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who 
for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb- 
shows and noise : I would have such a fellow whipped for o'er- 
doing Termagant ; it out-herods Herod : pray you, avoid it. 

First Player. I warrant your honour. 

Hamlet. Be not too tame neither, but let y our Qwn 
djsr rfJion Jj e y o ar tutor : suit th e action to the jaeordy-lhe 
word to the action ; with this special observance, that you 
o'erstep not the modesty of nature ; for anything so overdone 
is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and 
now, was and is, to hnlf]^ as 'twpr^^ the mirror up to nature ; to 
show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the 
very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now, 
this overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful 
laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of 
which one must in your allowance o'erweigh a whole theatre of 
others. O ! there be players that I have seen play, and heard 



others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that, 
neither having the accent of Christians nor the gait of Christian, 
pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellovi^ed that I have 
thought some of nature's journeymen had made men and not 
made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably. 

First Player, I hope w^e have reformed that indifferently 
with us. 

Hamlet, O ! reform it altogether. And let those that play 
your clowns speak no more than is set down for them ; for there 
be of them that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity 
of barren spectators to laugh too, though in the mean time 
some necessary question of the play be then to be considered ; 
that 's villanous, and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool 
that uses it. 

Hamlety in. ii. i — 50 

The character of a. player {t^o ^ie<ws) 

The best in this kind are but shadows, and the worst are no worse, 
if imagination amend them. A Midsummer Night's Dream^ v. i. 215 

Whatsoever is commendable to the grave orator, is most 
exquisitely perfect in him ; for by a full and significant action 
of body, he charms our attention : sit in a full theatre, and you 
will think you see so many lines drawn from the circumference 
of so many ears, whiles the actor is the centre. He doth not 
strive to make nature monstrous; she is often seen in the same 
scene with him, but neither on stilts nor crutches ; and for his 
voice, 'tis not lower than the prompter, nor louder than the 
foil and target. By his action he fortifies moral prece pts W'^'h 
examples; for what we see him personate^ ^ e t hink truly done 
" before us: a man of a deep thought might apprehend the 
ghost of our ancient heroes walked again, and take him (at 
several times) for many of them. He is much affected to 
painting, and 'tis a question whether that make him an excellent 
player, or his playing an excellent painter. He adds grace to 
the poet's labours : for what in the poet is but ditty, in him is 
both ditty and music. He entertains us in the best leisure of 
our life, that is between meals, the most unfit time either for 
study or bodily exercise. The flight of hawks and chase of 
wild beasts, either of them are delights noble : but some think 



this sport of men the worthier, despite all calumny. All men 
have been of his occupation : and indeed, what he doth 
feignedly, that do others essentially : this day one plays a 
monarch, the next a private person. Here one acts a tyrant, 
on the morrow an exile : a parasite this man to-night, to-morrow 
a precisian, and so of divers others. I observe, of all men 
living, a worthy actor in one kind is the strongest motive of 
affection that can be : for when he dies, we cannot be persuaded 
any man can do his parts like him. But to conclude, I value 
a worthy actor by the corruption of some few of the quality, 
as I would do gold in the ore; I should not mind the dross, but 
the purity of the metal. 

Sir Thomas Overbury, Characters 1614 — 16 

Players are discredited in the very subject of their profession, 
which is only scratching the itching humours of scabbed minds 
with pleasing content and profane jests; and how can he be 
well reputed, that employs all his time in vanity and lies, 
counterfeiting and practising nothing else. 

Player is afraid of the plague, as much as a coward of a 
musket : for as death is formidable to the one, so is poverty and 
wants to the other. 

Player is afraid of the statute, for if he have no better 
supportation than his profession, he is neither admitted in public, 
nor if he be a roamer dares justify himself in private, being a flat 
rogue by the statute. 

Player's practices can hardly be warranted in religion : for a 
man to put on woman's apparel, and a woman a man's, is plain 
prohibition ; I speak not of execrable oaths, artificial lies, 
discoveries of cozenage, scurrilous words, obscene discourses, 
corrupt courtings, licentious motions, lascivious actions, and lewd 
jestures: for all these are incident to other men. But here is the 
difference : in these they come by imperfection, in them by 

Player is a great spender, and indeed may resemble strumpets, 
who get their money filthily, and spend it profusely. 

Player is much out of countenance, if fools do not laugh at 
them, boys clap their hands, peasants ope their throats, and the 
rude rascal rabble cry " excellent, excellent " : the knaves have 
acted their parts in print. 



Player hath many times many excellent qualities : as danc- 
ing, activity, music, song, elocution, ability of body, memory, 
vigilancy, skill of weapon, pregnancy of wit, and such like : in 
all which he resembleth an excellent spring of water, which 
grows the more sweeter and the more plentiful by the often 
drawing out of it : so are all these the more perfect and plausible 
by the often practice. 

Player is at the first very bashful, as stricken with amaze at 
the multitude, which being of various dispositions, will censure 
him accordingly: but custom maketh perfectness, and em- 
boldeneth him sometimes to be shameless. 

Player must take heed of wrested and enforced action : for 
if there be not a facility in his deliverance, and as it were a 
natural dexterity, it must needs sound harsh to the auditor, and 
procure his distaste and displeasure. 

Player is like a garment which the tailor maketh at the 
direction of the owner ; so they frame their action at the 
disposing of the poet : so that in truth they are reciprocal helps 
to one another ; for the one writes for money, and the other 
plays for money, and the spectator pays his money. 

T. G., The Rich Cabinet 1616 

7%e magnificence of players* dress 

Overlashing in apparel is so common a fault, that the very 
hirelings of some of our players, which stand at reversion of 
six shillings by the week, jet it under gentlemen's noses in suits 
of silk, exercising themselves to prating on the stage, and common 
scoffing when they come abroad, where they look askance over 
the shoulder at every man, of whom the Sunday before they 
begged an alms. I speak not this, as though every one that 
professeth the quality so abused himself, for it is well known 
that some of them are sober, discreet, properly learned, honest 
householders and citizens, well thought on amongst their 
neighbours at home, though the pride of their shadows (I mean 
those hangbys whom they succour with stipend) cause them to 
be somewhat ill talked of abroad. 

Stephen Gosson, The Schoole of Abuse 1579 


A siof^ of the Queen's pta,:^ers touring in the provinces 

[see also p. 20] 

Amongst other choleric wise justices he was one, that 
having a play presented before him and his township by 
Tarlton and the rest of his fellows, her Majesty's servants, and 
they were now entering into their first merriment (as they call 
it), the people began exceedingly to laugh when Tarlton first 
peeped out his head. Whereat the justice, not a little moved, 
and seeing with his becks and nods he could not make them 
cease, he went with his staff, and beat them round about un- 
mercifully on the bare pates, in that they, being but farmers 
and poor country hinds, would presume to laugh at the Queen's 
men, and make no more account of her cloth in his presence. 
Thomas Nashe, Pierce Penilesse 1592 

A royat licence for Shakespeare's company, 
''The King's Ptay^ers/' May i9, i603 

James by the grace of God etc. To all justices, mayors, 
sheriffs, constables, headboroughs and other our officers and lov- 
ing subjects greeting. Know ye that We of our special grace, 
certain knowledge and mere motion, have licensed and authorised 
and by these presents do license and authorise these our servants 
Lawrence Fletcher, William Shakespeare, Richard Burbage, 
Augustine Phillipps, John Heming, Henry Condell, William 
Sly, Robert Armin, Richard Cowley, and the rest of their 
associates freely to use and exercise the art and faculty of 
playing comedies, tragedies, histories, interludes, morals, 
pastorals, stage-plays, and such others like as they have 
already studied or hereafter shall use or study, as well for the 
recreation of our loving subjects as for our solace and pleasure 
when we shall think good to see them during our pleasure. 
And the said comedies, tragedies, histories, interludes, morals, 
pastorals, stage-plays and such like to shew and exercise publicly 
to their Ijest commodity, when the infection of the plague shall 
decrease, as well within their now usual house, called the Globe, 
within our county of Surrey, as also within any town-halls or 
moot-halls or other convenient places within the liberties and 



freedom of any other city, university town or borough what- 
soever within our said realms and dominions. Willing and 
commanding you and every of you as you tender our pleasure 
not only to permit and suffer them herein without any your 
lets and hindrances or molestations during our said pleasure, but 
also to be aiding and assisting to them if any wrong be to them 
offered. And to allow them such former courtesies as hath been 
given to men of their place and quality, and also what further 
favour you shall show to these our servants, for our sake, we 
shall take kindly at your hands. In witness whereof etc. witness 
ourself at Westminster the nineteenth day of May. 

§ 5. Puritan opposition to the theatre 

[From the erection of the theatres in 1576 to their suppression at the 
outbreak of the Civil War, the Puritan party waged an unceasing warfare 
against the stage. But for the protection of the court the Elizabethan 
drama would have come to an untimely end before Shakespeare reached 
London. The tracts on either side of the controversy tell us a good deal 
about the theatrical and dramatic conditions of the day.] 

Puritan denuncidion from Paul's Cross 

Look but upon the common plays in London, and see the 
multitude that flocketh to them and foUoweth them. Behold the 
sumptuous theatre houses, a continual monument of London's 
prodigality and folly. But I understand they are now forbidden 
because of the plague. I like the policy well if it hold still, for a 
disease is but lodged or patched up that is not cured in the 
cause, and the cause of plagues is sin, if you look to it well : 
and the cause of sin are plays : therefore the cause of plagues 
are plays. 

Thomas White, A Sermon Preached at Paries Crosse 1578 

Will not a filthy play, with the blast of a trumpet, sooner 
call thither a thousand, than an hour's tolling of a bell bring 
to the sermon a hundred ? Nay even here in the city, with- 
out it be at this place and some other certain ordinary audience, 
where shall you find a reasonable company ? Whereas if you 
resort to the Theater, the Curtain, and other places of plays 
in the city, you shall on the Lord's day have those places, with 

W. M 177 


many other that I cannot reckon, so full as possible they can 
throng, besides a great number of other lets to pull from the 
hearing of the word of which I will speak hereafter... What 
should I speak of beastly plays, against which out of this place 
every man crieth out ? Have we not houses of purpose built 
with great charges for the maintenance of them ; and that 
without the liberties, as who would say : " There, let them say 
what they will, we will play." I know not how I might with 
the godly learned especially more discommend the gorgeous 
playing-place erected in the fields than to term it, as they 
please to have it called, a Theater, that is even after the 
manner of the old heathenish theatre at Rome, a shew-place 
of all beastly and filthy matters, to the which it cannot be 
chosen that men should resort without learning thence much 
corruption.... For reckoning with the least, the gain that is 
reaped of eight ordinary places in the city, which I know, by 
playing but once a week (whereas many times they play twice 
or sometimes thrice) it amounteth to two thousand pounds by 
the year. 

John Stockwood, A Sermon Preached at Paules Crosse 1578 

A s^eeptns^ condemnation of pUys 
Do they not maintain bawdry, insinuate foolery, and renew 
the remembrance of heathen idolatry ? Do they not induce 
whoredom and uncleanness? Nay, are they not rather plain 
devourers of maidenly virginity and chastity ? For proof 
whereof but mark the flocking and running to Theaters and 
Curtains, daily and hourly, night and day, time and tide, to see 
plays and interludes, where such wanton gestures, such bawdy 
speeches, such laughing and fleering, such kissing and bussing, 
such clipping and culling, such winking and glancing of wanton 
eyes, and the like is used, as is wonderful to behold. Then 
these goodly pageants being ended, every mate sorts to his mate, 
every one brings another homeward' of their way very friendly, 
and in their secret conclaves (covertly) they play the sodomites, or 
worse. And these be the fruits of plays and interludes, for the 
most part. And whereas, you say, there are good examples to be 
learnt in them : truly so there are ; if you will learn falsehood ; 
if you will learn cozenage ; if you will learn to deceive ; if you 
will learn to play the hypocrite, to cog, to lie and falsify 5 if 



you will learn to jest, laugh and fleer, to grin, to nod and mow ; 
if you will learn to play the Vice, to swear, tear and blaspheme 
both heaven and earth ; if you will learn to become a bawd, 
unclean, and to devirginate maids, to deflower honest wives ; if 
you will learn to murder, flay, kill, pick, steal, rob and rove ; if 
you will learn to rebel against princes, to commit treasons, to 
consume treasures, to practise idleness, to sing and talk of bawdy 
love and venery ; if you will learn to deride, scofF, mock and 
flout, to flatter and smooth ; if you will learn to play the whore- 
master, the glutton, drunkard, or incestuous person ; if you will 
learn to become proud, haughty and arrogant ; and finally, if you 
will learn to contemn God and all His laws, to care neither for 
Heaven nor Hell, and to commit all kinds of sin and mischief, 
you need to go to no other school, for all these good examples 
may you see painted before your eyes in interludes and plays.* 
Philip Stubbes, The Anatomic of Abuses 1583^ 

WhM the author Hies of the city thought of the theatre 

To the Lords Our humble duties remembered to your good 

against Stage l j ^^^ ^j^^ ^.^5^ ^^ j^^^g signified to your 
Plays, _.-. • 1 r 1 • 

Honours many times heretofore the great incon- 
venience which we find to grow by the common exercise of 
stage-plays. We presumed to do [so], as well in respect of the duty 
we bear towards her Highness for the good government of this 
her city, as for conscience sake, being persuaded (under correc- 
tion of your Honours' judgment) that neither in polity nor in 
religion they are to be suffered in a Christian commonwealth, 
specially being of that frame and matter as usually they are, 
containing nothing but profane fables, lascivious matters, 
cozening devices, and scurrilous behaviours, which are so set 
forth as that they move wholly to imitation and not to the 
avoiding of those faults and vices which they represent. Among 
other inconveniences it is not the least that they give opportunity 
to the refuse sort of evil-disposed and ungodly people that 
are within and about this city to assemble themselves and to 
make their matches for all their lewd and ungodly practices ; 
being as heretofore we have found by the examination of divers 
apprentices and other servants who have confessed unto us that 
the said stage-plays were the very places of their rendezvous, 

M2 179 


appointed by them to meet with such other as were to join with 
them in their designs and mutinous attempts, being also the 
ordinary places for masterless men to come together and to 
recreate themselves. For avoiding whereof we are now again 
most humble and earnest suitors to your honours to direct 
your letters as well to ourselves as to the justices of peace of 
Surrey and Middlesex for the present stay and final suppressing 
of the said stage-plays, as well at the Theater, Curtain and 
Bankside as in all other places in and about the city ; whereby 
we doubt not but the opportunity and the very cause of many 
disorders being taken away, we shall be more able to keep the 
worse sort of such evil and disordered people in better order 
than heretofore we have been. And so most humbly we take 
our leaves. From London the 28th of July 1597. 
Theincon- I. They are a special cause of corrupting 

•veniences that their youth, containing nothing but unchaste 
^l^sabouf^' "matters, lascivious devices, shifts of cozenage, 
the city of and Other lewd and ungodly practices, being so 

London. 35 that they impress the very quality and corrup- 

tion of manners which they represent, contrary to the rules and 
art prescribed for the making of comedies even among the 
heathen, who used them seldom and at certain set times, and 
not all the year long as our manner is. Whereby such as 
frequent them, being of the base and refuse sort of people or 
such young gentlemen as have small regard of credit or con- 
science, draw the same into imitation and not to the avoiding 
the like vices which they represent. 

2. They are the ordinary places for vagrant persons, 
masterless men, thieves, horse-stealers, whoremongers, cozeners, 
coney-catchers, contrivers of treason and other idle and dangerous 
persons to meet together and to make their matches to the great 
displeasure of Almighty God and the hurt and annoyance of 
her Majesty's people ; which cannot be prevented nor discovered 
by the governors of the city for that they are out of the city's 

3. They maintain idleness in such persons as have no 
vocation, and draw apprentices and other servants from their 
ordinary works and all sorts of people from the resort unto 
sermons and other Christian exercises to the great hindrance of 



trades and profanation of religion established by her Highness 
within this realm. 

4. In the time of sickness it is found by experience that 
many, having sores and yet not heart-sick, take occasion hereby 
to walk abroad and to recreate themselves by hearing a play. 
Whereby others are infected, and themselves also many things 

A letter from the Lord Mayor and Aldermen to the Privy Council, 

July 28, 1597 

A dramatist's repty> to the puritans 

Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed ? Do you hear, 
let them be well used ; for they are the abstracts and brief chronicles of 
the time : after your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their 
ill report while you live. Hamlet^ 11. ii. 553 — 557 

That State or kingdom that is in league with all the world 
and hath no foreign sword to vex it, is not half so strong or 
confirmed to endure, as that which lives every hour in fear of 
invasion. There is a certain waste of the people for whom 
there is no use but war : and these men must have some 
employment still to cut them off. Nam si foras hostem non 
habenty domi tnvenient. If they have no service abroad, they 
will make mutinies at home. Or if the affairs of the state be 
such, as cannot exhale all these corrupt excrements, it is very 
expedient they have some light toys to busy their heads 
withal, cast before them as bones to gnaw upon, which may 
keep them from having leisure to intermeddle with higher 

To this effect, the policy of plays is very necessary, howso- 
ever some shallow-brained censurers (not the deepest searchers 
into the secrets of government) mightily oppugn them. For 
whereas the afternoon, being the idlest time of the day, where- 
in men that are their own masters (as gentlemen of the court, 
the Inns of the Court, and the number of captains and soldiers 
about London) do wholly bestow themselves upon pleasure, and 
that pleasure they divide (how virtuously it skills not) either 
into gaming, following of harlots, drinking, or seeing a play : 
is it not then better (since of four extremes all the world cannot 



keep them but they will choose one) that they should betake 
them to the least, which is plays ? Nay, what if I prove plays 
to be no extreme, but a rare exercise of virtue ? First, for the 
subject of them (for the most part) it is borrowed out of our 
English chronicles, wherein our forefathers' valiant acts (that 
have lain long buried in rusty brass and worm-eaten books) are 
revived, and they themselves raised from the grave of oblivion, 
and brought to plead their aged honours in open presence : than 
which, what can be a sharper reproof to these degenerate 
effeminate days of ours ? 

How would it have joyed brave Talbot (the terror of the 
French) to think that after he had lain two hundred years in his 
tomb, he should triumph again on the stage, and have his bones 
new embalmed with the tears of ten thousand spectators at 
least (at several times), who in the tragedian that represents his 
person imagine they behold him fresh bleeding. 

I will defend it against any cullion or club-fisted usurer of 
them all, there is no immortality can be given a man on earth 
like unto plays. What talk I to them of immortality, that are 
the only underminers of honour, and do envy any man that is 
not sprung up by base brokery like themselves ? They care not 
if all the ancient houses were rooted out, so that, like the 
burgomasters of the Low-countries, they might share the 
government amongst them as states, and be quarter-masters of 
our monarchy. All arts to them are vanity : and, if you tell 
them what a glorious thing it is to have Henry V represented 
on the stage, leading the French king prisoner, and forcing both 
him and the Dauphin to swear fealty, " Aye but " (will they say) 
" what do we get by it ? " Respecting neither the right of fame 
that is due to true nobility deceased, nor what hopes of eternity 
are to be proposed to adventurous minds, to encourage them 
forward, but only their execrable lucre and filthy unquenchable 

They know when they are dead they shall not be brought 
upon the stage for any goodness, but in a merriment of the 
Usurer and the Devil, or buying arms of the herald, who gives 
them the lion, without tongue, tail, or talons, because his 
master whom he must serve is a townsman and a man of peace, 
and must not keep any quarrelling beasts to annoy his honest 



Jn pla ys, all c ozenages, all cunning drif ts over- gilded with 
outward holiness, aTf stratagems oT^war, ail the cankerworms 
that Freed on the rust of peace are most lively anatomized. They 
shew the ill-success of treason, the fall of hasty climbers, the 
wretched end of usurpers, the misery of civil dissension, and 
how just God is evermore in punishing of murder. And to 
prove every one of these allegations, could I propound the 
circumstances of this play and that play, if I meant to handle 
this theme otherwise than obiter. What should I say more ? 
They are sour pills of reprehension, wrapped up in sweet words. 
Whereas some petitioners of the Council against them object 
they corrupt the youth of the city, and withdraw prentices from 
their work, they heartily wish they might be troubled with 
none of their youth nor their prentices ; for some of them (I 
mean the ruder handicrafts' servants) never come abroad, but 
they are in danger of undoing. And as for corrupting them 
when they come, that's false ; for no play they have en- 
courageth any man to tumults or rebellion, but lays before 
such the halter and the gallows ; or praiseth or approveth pride, 
lust, whoredom, prodigality or drunkenness, but beats them 
down utterly. As for the hindrance of trades and traders of 
the city by them, that is an article foisted in by the vintners, 
alewives, and victuallers, who surmise, if there were no plays, 
they should have all the company that resort to them lie booz- 
ing and beer-bathing in their houses every afternoon. Nor so, 
nor so, good Brother Bottle-ale, for there are other places besides 
where money can bestow itself. The sign of the smock will wipe 
your mouth clean : and yet I have heard ye have made her a 
tenant to your tap-houses. But what shall he do that hath 
spent himself? Where shall he haunt ? Faith, when dice, lust, 
and drunkenness and all have dealt upon him, if there be 
never a play for him to go to for his penny, he sits melancholy 
in his chamber, devising upon felony or treason, and how he 
may best exalt himself by mischief. 

In Augustus' time (who was the patron of all witty sports) 
there happened a great fray in Rome about a player, insomuch 
as all the city was in an uproar : whereupon the emperor (after 
the broil was somewhat overblown) called the player before him, 
and asked what was the reason that a man of his quality durst 
presume to make such a brawl about nothing. He smilingly 



replied, " It is good for thee, O Caesar, that the people's heads 
are troubled with brawls and quarrels about us and our light 
matters : for otherwise they would look into theeand thy matters." 
Read Lipsius or any profane or Christian politician, and you \^ 
shall find him of this opinion. Our players are not as the 
players beyond sea, a sort of squirting bawdy comedians, that 
have whores and common courtezans to play women's parts, and 
forbear no immodest speech or unchaste action that may procure 
laughter ; but our scene is more stately furnished than ever it 
was in the time of Roscius, our representations honourable 
and full of gallant resolution, not consisting, like theirs, of a 
pantaloon, a whore, and a zany, but of emperors, kings and 
princes, whose true tragedies {Sophocleo cothurnd) they do 

Not Roscius nor ^sop, those admired tragedians that have 
lived ever since before Christ was born, could ever perform 
more in action than famous Ned Alleyn. I must accuse our 
poets of sloth and partiality, that they will not boast in large 
impressions what worthy men (above all nations) England affords. 
Other countries cannot have a fiddler break a string but they 
will put it in print, and the old Romans in the writings they 
published thought scorn to use any but domestical examples of 
their own home-bred actors, scholars and champions, and them 
they would extol to the third and fourth generation : cobblers, 
tinkers, fencers, none escaped them, but they mingled them all 
in one gallimaufry of glory. 

Here I have used a like method, not of tying myself to mine 
own country, but by insisting in the experience of our time : 
and, if I ever write anything in Latin (as I hope one day I 
shall), not a man of any desert here amongst us but I will have 
up. Tarlton, Ned Alleyn, Knell, Bently, shall be made known 
to France, Spain, and Italy : and not a part that they sur- 
mounted in, more than other, but I will there note and set 
down, with the manner of their habits and attire. 

Thomas Nashb, Pierce Penilesse 159a 



Qui s* excuse, s*SLCcuse 

[By the ordinance of Sept. 2nd, 1642, Parliament closed all the theatres 
in London, which remained shut until the Restoration. The following 
amusing little pamphlet, protesting against the ordinance or pretending to, 
gives us a very curious insight into the theatrical life of the time. It is 
here printed entire.] 

Oppressed with many calamities and languishing to death 
under the burden of a long and (for aught we know) an ever- 
lasting restraint, we the comedians, tragedians and actors of all 
sorts and sizes belonging to the famous private and public houses 
within the city of London and the suburbs thereof, to you great 
Phoebus and your sacred Sisters, the sole patronesses of our 
distressed calling, do we in all humility present this our humble 
and lamentable complaint, by whose intercession to those powers 
who confined us to silence we hope to be restored to our pristine 
honour and employment. 

First, it is not unknown to all the audience that have 
frequented the private houses of Black-friars, the Cock-pit and 
Salisbury-court, without austerity we have purged our stages 
from all obscene and scurrilous jests, such as might either be 
guilty of corrupting the manners, or defaming the persons of 
any men of note in the city or kingdom ; that we have en- 
deavoured, as much as in us lies, to instruct one another in the 
true and genuine art of acting, to repress bawling and railing, 
formerly in great request, and for to suit our language and 
action to the more gentle and natural garb of the times; that we 
have left off for our own parts, and so have commanded our 
servants, to forget that ancient custom which formerly rendered 
men of our quality infamous, namely the inveigling in young 
gentlemen, merchants' factors and prentices to spend their 
patrimonies and masters' estates upon us and our harlots in 
taverns ; we have clean and quite given over the borrowing 
money at first sight of puny gallants or praising their swords, 
belts and beavers, so to invite them to bestow them upon us ; 
and to our praise be it spoken, we were for the most part very 
well reformed, few of us keeping, or being rather kept by, our 
mistresses, betook ourselves wholly to our wives, observing the 
matrimonial vow of chastity. Yet for all these conformities and 



reformations we were by authority (to which we in all humility 
siihmit) resiXra\ne(] from the p ractice of our_£rofession • that pro- 
fession which had before maintained us in comely andTconvenient 
equipage, some of us by it merely being enabled to keep horses 
(though not whores) is now condemned to a perpetual, at least 
a very long temporary, silence, and we left to live upon our 
shifts or the expense of our former gettings, to the great im- 
poverishment and utter undoing of ourselves, wives, children and 
dependants, besides which it is of all other our extremest 
grievance, that plays being put down under the name of public 
recreations, other public recreations of far more harmful con- 
sequences [are] permitted still to stand in statu quo prius^ namely 
that nurse of barbarism and beastliness, the Bear-Garden, where 
upon their usual days those demi-monsters are baited by bandogs; 
the gentlemen of stave and tail, namely boisterous butchers, 
cutting cobblers, hard-handed masons and the like rioting 
companions, resorting thither with as much freedom as 
formerly, making with their sweat and crowding a far worse 
stink than the ill-formed beasts they persecute with their dogs 
and whips ; pick-pockets, which in an age are not heard of in 
any of our houses, repairing thither, and other disturbers of the 
public peace which dare not be seen in our civil and well- 
governed theatres, where none use to come but the best of the 
nobility and gentry ; and though some have taxed our houses 
unjustly for being the receptacles of harlots, the exchanges where 
they meet and make their bargains with their frank chapmen 
of the country and city, yet we may justly excuse ourselves of 
either knowledge or consent in these lewd practices, we having 
no prophetic souls to know women's honesty by instinct, nor 
commission to examine them ; and if we had, worthy were 
these wretches of Bridewell, that out of their own mouths 
would convince themselves of lasciviousness. Puppet-plays, 
which are not so much valuable as the very music between 
each act at ours, are still up with uncontrolled allowance, 
witness the famous motion of Bell and the Dragon^ so fre- 
quently visited at Holborn Bridge these past Christmas holidays, 
whither citizens of all sorts repair with far more detriment to 
themselves than [they] ever did to plays, comedies and tragedies, 
being the lively representations of men's actions in which vice 
is always sharply glanced at and punished, and virtue rewarded 



and encouraged, the most exact and natural eloquence of our 
English language expressed and daily amplified. And yet for all 
this we suffer and are enforced, ourselves and our dependants, 
to tender our complaint in doleful manner to you great Phoebus 
and you inspired Heliconian Virgins. First our house-keepers 
that grew wealthy by our endeavours complain that they are 
enforced to pay the grand landlords rents during this long 
vacation out of their former gettings ; instead of ten, twenty, 
nay thirty shillings shares which used nightly to adorn and 
comfort with their harmonious music their large and well-stuffed 
pockets, they have shares in nothing with us now but our 
misfortunes, living merely out of the stock, out of the interest 
and principal of their former gotten moneys, which daily is 
exhausted by the maintenance of themselves and families. 

For ourselves, such as were sharers are so impoverished that, 
were it not for some slender helps afforded us in this time of 
calamity by our former providence, we might be enforced to act 
our tragedies. Our hired-men are dispersed, some turned soldiers 
and trumpeters, others destin'd to meaner courses, or depending 
upon us, whom in courtesy we cannot see want for old 
acquaintance sakes. Their friends, young gentlemen that 
used to feast and frolick with them at taverns, having either 
quitted the kin in these times of distraction, or their money 
having quitted them, they are ashamed to look upon their old 
expensive friends. Nay, their very mistresses, those buxom and 
bountiful lasses that usually were enamoured on the persons of 
the younger sort of actors, for the good clothes they wore upon 
the stage, believing them really to be the persons they did only 
represent, are quite out of sorts themselves and so disabled for 
supplying their poor friends* necessities. Our fools who had 
wont to allure and excite laughter with their very countenances, 
at their first appearance on the stage (hard shifts are better than 
none) are enforced, some of them at least, to maintain them- 
selves by virtue of their baubles. Our boys, ere we shall have 
liberty to act again, will be grown out of use, like cracked 
organ-pipes, and have faces as old as our flags. 

Nay our very door-keepers, men and women, most grievously 
complain that by this cessation they are robbed of the privilege 
of stealing from us with licence : they cannot now, as in King 
Agamemnon's days, seem to scratch their heads where they itch 



not, and drop shillings and half-crown-pieces in at their collars. 
Our music that was held so delectable and precious, that they 
scorned to come to a tavern under twenty shillings' salary for 
two hours, now wander with their instruments under their cloaks, 
I mean such as have any, into all houses of good fellowship, 
saluting every room where there is company with, " Will you 
have any music, gentlemen ? " For our tire-men, and others 
that belonged formerly to our ward-robe, with the rest, they are 
out of service : our stock of clothes, such as are not in tribula- 
tion for the general use, being a sacrifice to moths. The 
tobacco-men, that used to walk up and down, selling for a 
penny-pipe, that which was not worth twelve pence an horse- 
load, being now bound under tapsters in inns and tippling- 
houses. Nay such a terrible distress and dissolution hath befallen 
us and all those that had dependence on the stage, that it hath 
quite unmade our hopes of future recovery; for some of our 
ablest ordinary poets instead of their annual stipends and 
beneficial second-days, being for mere necessity compelled to 
get a living by writing contemptible penny-pamphlets in which 
they have not so much as poetical licence to use any attribute 
of their profession but that of Quid libet audiendi ? and feign- 
ing miraculous stories and relations of unheard of battles. Nay, 
it is to be feared that shortly some of them (if they have not 
been enforced to do it already) will be incited to enter themselves 
into Martin Parker's society, and write ballads. And what a 
shame this is, great Phoebus and you sacred Sisters, for your 
own priests thus to be degraded of their ancient dignities. Be 
yourselves righteous judges, when those who formerly have sung 
with such elegance the acts of kings and potentates, charming 
like Orpheus the dull and brutish multitude, scarce a degree 
above stones and forests, into admiration though not into 
understanding with their divine raptures, shall be by that tyrant 
Necessity reduced to such abject exigents, wandering like grand- 
children of old Erra Paters, those learned almanac-makers, 
without any Maecenas to cherish their lofty conceptions, 
prostituted by the misfortune of our silence to inexplicable 
miseries, having no heavenly Castalian sack to actuate and 
inform their spirits almost confounded with stupidity and 
coldness by their frequent drinking (and glad too they can get 
it) of fulsome ale and heretical beer as their usual beverage. 

1 88 


To conclude this our humble complaint, great Phoebus and 
you nine sacred Sisters, the patronesses of wit and protectresses 
of us poor disrespected comedians, if for the present by your 
powerful intercessions we may be reinvested in our former 
houses, and settled in our former calling, we shall for the future 
promise never to admit into our sixpenny-rooms those unwhole- 
some enticing harlots that sit there merely to be taken up by 
prentices or lawyers' clerks, nor any female of what degree soever, 
except they come lawfully with their husbands or near allies. 
The abuses in tobacco shall be reformed, none vended, nor so 
much as in threepenny galleries, unless of the pure Spanish leaf. 
For ribaldry or any such paltry stuff as may scandal the 
pious and provoke the wicked to looseness, we will utterly 
expel it, with the bawdy and ungracious poets the authors, to 
the Antipodes. Finally we shall hereafter so demean ourselves 
as none shall esteem us of the ungodly, or have cause to repine 
at our action or interludes : we will not entertain any comedian 
that shall speak his part in a tone, as if he did it in derision of 
some of the pious, but reform all our disorders, and amend all 
our amisses, so prosper us Phoebus and the nine Muses, and be 
propitious to this our complaint. 

The Acton Remonstrance 1643 



What infinite heart's ease 
Must kings neglect that private men enjoy ! 
And what have kings that privates have not too, 
Save ceremony, save general ceremony? 
And what art thou, thou idle ceremony? 
What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more 
Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers ? 
What are thy rents ? what are thy comings-in ? 
• «••«# 

*Tis not the balm, the sceptre and the ball, 
The sword, the mace, the crown imperial, 
The intertissued robe of gold and pearl. 
The farced title running 'fore the king. 
The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp 
That beats upon the high shore of this world, 
No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous ceremony, 
Not all these, laid in bed majestical. 
Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave. 
Who with a body fill'd and vacant mind 
Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread. 

Henry F., iv. i. 256 — 290 

About, about ! 
Search Windsor castle, elves, within and out: 
Strew good luck, ouphs, on every sacred room, 
That it may stand till the perpetual doom, 
In seat as wholesome as in state 'tis fit, 
Worthy the owner, and the owner it. 
The several chairs of order look you scour 
With juice of balm and every precious flower: 
Each fair instalment, coat, and several crest, 
With loyal blazon, ever more be blest I 



And nightly, meadow-fairies, look you sing, 
Like to the Garter's compass, in a ring: 
The expressure that it bears, green let it be. 
More fertile-fresh than all the field to see j 
And, Honi soit qui mal y feme write 
In emerald tufts, flowers purple, blue, and white; 
Like sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery. 
Buckled below fair knighthood's bending knee. 

The Merry Winjes of PFindsor, v. v. 6i — 78 

, [At Christmas 1594 Shakespeare acted before Elizabeth at Greenwich. 
Under James I. he ranked as a Groom of the Chamber.] 

§ I. Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich 

Elizabeth, the reigning Queen of England, was born at the 
royal palace of Greenwich, and here she generally resides, 
particularly in summer, for the delightfulness of its situation. 
We were admitted by an order, which Mr Rogers had procured 
from the Lord Chamberlain, into the presence-chamber hung 
with rich tapestry, and the floor, after the English fashion, 
strewed with hay, through which the Queen commonly passes 
in her way to chapel. At the door stood a gentleman dressed 
in velvet, with a gold chain, whose office was to introduce to the 
Queen any person of distinction that came to wait on her. It 
was Sunday, when there is usually the greatest attendance of 
nobility. In the same hall were the Archbishop of Canterbury, 
the Bishop of London, a great number of counsellors of state, 
officers of the crown, and gentlemen, who waited the 
Queen's coming out, which she did from her own apartment 
when it was time to go to prayers, attended in the following 
manner : — 

First went gentlemen, barons, earls, knights of the 
Garter, all richly dressed and bareheaded ; next came the 
Lord High Chancellor of England, bearing the seals in a red 
silk purse, between two, one of whom carried the royal sceptre, 
the other the sword of state in a red scabbard, studded with 
golden fleur-de-lis, the point upwards ; next came the Queen, 
in the 65th year of her age (as we were told), very majestic ; 
her face oblong, fair but wrinkled ; her eyes small, yet black 
and pleasant ; her nose a little hooked, her lips narrow, and her 
teeth black (a defect the English seem subject to, from their 



too great use of sugar) ; she had in her ears two pearls with very 
rich drops; her hair was of an auburn colour, but false; upon 
her head she had a small crown, reported to be made of some 
of the gold of the celebrated Luneburg table ; her bosom 
was uncovered, as all the English ladies have it till they marry ; 
and she had on a necklace of exceeding fine jewels ; her hands 
were slender, her fingers rather long, and her stature neither tall 
nor low; her air was stately, her manner of speaking mild and 
obliging. That day she was dressed in white silk, bordered 
with pearls of the size of beans, and over it a mantle of black 
silk shot with silver threads ; her train was very long, the end of 
it borne by a marchioness; instead of a chain, she had an oblong 
collar of gold and jewels. As she went along in all this state 
and magnificence, she spoke very graciously, first to one, then 
to another (whether foreign ministers, or those who attend for 
different reasons), in English, French and Italian ; for besides 
being well skilled in Greek, Latin and the languages I have 
mentioned, she is mistress of Spanish, Scotch and Dutch. 
Whoever speaks to her, it is kneeling ; now and then she raises 
some with her hand. While we were there, William Slawata, 
a Bohemian baron, had letters to present to her; and she, after 
pulling ofF her glove, gave him her right hand to kiss, sparkling 
with rings and jewels — a mark of particular favour. Wherever 
she turned her face as she was going along, everybody fell down 
on their knees. The ladies of the court followed next to her, 
very handsome and well-shaped, and for the most part dressed 
in white. She was guarded on each side by the gentlemen 
pensioners, fifty in number, with gilt halberds. In the ante- 
chapel, next the hall where we were, petitions were presented 
to her, and she received them most graciously, which occasioned 
the acclamation of God save the Quene Elizabeth! She answered 
it with / thancke you myn goodpeupel. In the chapel was excellent 
music; as soon as it and the service were over, which scarcely 
exceeded half-an-hour, the Queen returned in the same state 
and order, and prepared to go to dinner. But while she was 
still at prayers, we saw her table set out with the following 
solemnity : — 

A gentleman entered the room bearing a rod, and along 
with him another who had a table-cloth, which after they 
had both knelt three times, with the utmost veneration, he 



spread upon the table, and after kneeling again they both 
retired. Then came two others, one with the rod again, the 
other with a salt-cellar, a plate and bread ; when they had knelt 
as the others had done, and placed what was brought upon the 
table, they too retired with the same ceremonies performed by 
the first. At last came an unmarried lady of extraordinary 
beauty (we were told that she was a countess) and along with 
her a married one, bearing a tasting-knife; the former was 
dressed in white silk, who, when she had prostrated herself 
three times, in the most graceful manner, approached the table 
and rubbed the plates with bread and salt with as much awe as 
if the Queen had been present. When they had waited there 
a little while, the yeomen of the guard entered, bareheaded, 
clothed in scarlet, with a golden rose upon their backs, bringing 
in at each turn a course of twenty-four dishes, served in silver 
most of it gilt; these dishes were received by a gentleman in 
the same order as they were brought and placed upon the table, 
while the lady-taster gave to each of the guard a mouthful to eat 
of the particular dish he had brought, for fear of any poison. 
During the time that this guard, which consists of the tallest 
and stoutest men that can be found in all England, lOO in 
number, being carefully selected for this service, were bringing 
dinner, twelve trumpets and two kettle-drums made the hall 
ring for half-an-hour together. At the end of all this cere- 
monial, a number of unmarried ladies appeared, who with 
particular solemnity lifted the meat ofF the table, and conveyed 
it into the Queen's inner and more private chamber, where 
after she had chosen for herself, the rest goes to the ladies of the 
court. The Queen dines and sups alone with very few attend- 
ants ; and it is very seldom that any body, foreigner or native, is 
admitted at that time, and then only at the intercession of some 
distinguished personage. 

Paul Hentzner, Travels in England 1598 [Rye] 

w. N ^93 


§2. The Courtier 

The ideal 

The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's eye, tongue, sword, 

The expectancy and rose of the fair state, 

The glass of fashion and the mould of form. 

The observed of all observers. Hamlet^ in. i. 160 — 163 

To ride comely, to run fair at the tilt or ring, to play at 
all weapons, to shoot fair in bow or surely in gun, to vault 
lustily, to run, to leap, to wrestle, to swim, to dance comely, 
to sing and play of instruments cunningly, to hawk, to hunt, 
to play at tennis and all pastimes generally which be joined 
with labour, used in open place and on the daylight, containing 
either some fit exercise for war or some pleasant pastime for 
peace, be not only comely and decent, but also very necessary, 
for a courtly gentleman to use.... 

To join learning with comely exercises Conto Baldassare 
Castiglione in his book, Cortegiano^ doth timely teach: which 
book, advisedly read and diligently followed but one year at home 
in England, would do a young gentleman more good, I wiss, 
than three years travel abroad spent in Italy.... And besides good 
precepts in books, in all kinds of tongues, this court also never 
lacked many fair examples for young gentlemen to follow. 
And, surely, one example is more valuable, both to good and ill, 
than twenty precepts written in books.... Present examples of 
this present time, I list not to touch, yet there is one example 
for all the gentlemen of this court to follow, that may well 
satisfy them, or nothing will serve them, nor no example move 
them to goodness and learning. 

It is your shame (I speak to you all, you young gentlemen 
of England), that one maid should go beyond you all, in excel- 
lency of learning and knowledge of divers tongues. Point forth 
six of the best given gentlemen of this court, and all they 
together shew not so much good will, spend not so much time, 
bestow not so many hours, daily, orderly and constantly, for the 
increase of learning and knowledge, as doth the Queen's Majesty 
herself. Yea I believe that, beside her perfect readiness in 
Latin, Italian, French and Spanish, she readeth here now at 
Windsor more Greek every day than some prebendary of this 
church doth read Latin in a XVhole week. And that which is 


most praiseworthy of all, within the walls of her privy chamber 
she hath obtained that excellence of learning, to understand, 
speak and write, both wittily with head and &ir with hand, as 
scarce one or two rare wits in both the universities have in 
many years reached unto. Amongst all the benefits that God 
hath blessed me withal, next the knowledge of Christ's true 
religion, I count this the greatest, that it pleased God to call me 
to be one poor minister in setting forward these excellent gifts 
of learning in this most excellent Prince. Whose only example 
if the rest of our nobility would follow, then might England be, 
for learning and wisdom in nobility, a spectacle to all the world 
beside. But see the mishap of men : the best examples have 
never such force to move to any goodness, as the bad, vain, light 
and fond, have to all illness — 

Take heed therefore, ye great ones in the court, yea, though 
ye be the greatest of all, take heed what ye do, take heed how 
ye live. For as you great ones use to do, so all mean men love 
to do. You be indeed makers or marrers of all men's manners 
within the realm. For though God hath placed you to be 
chief in making of laws, to bear greatest authority, to command 
all others, yet God doth order that all your laws, all your 
authority, all your commandments, do not half so much with 
mean men, as doth your example and manner of living, And 
for example even in the greatest matter, if you yourselves do 
serve God gladly and orderly for conscience sake, not coldly and 
sometime for manner sake, you carry all the court with you, 
and the whole realm beside, earnestly and orderly to do the 
same. If you do otherwise, you be the only authors of all mis- 
orders in religion, not only to the court, but to all England 
beside. Infinite shall be made cold in religion by your example 
that never were hurt by reading of books. 

And in meaner matters, if three or four great ones in court 
will needs outrage in apparel, in huge hose, in monstrous hats, 
in garish colours, let the Prince proclaim, make laws, order, 
punish, command every gate in London daily to be watched, let 
all good men beside do everywhere what they can, surely the 
misorder of apparel in mean men abroad shall never be 
amended, except the greatest in court will order and mend 
themselves first. 

Roger Ascham, The Scholemaster 1570 

N 2 



The other side of the picture 

Hamlet. Dost know this water-fly ? 

Horatio. No, my good lord. 

Hamlet. Thy state is the more gracious ; for 'tis a vice to know him. 
He hath much land, and fertile : let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib 
shall stand at the king's mess : 'tis a chough ; but, as I say, spacious in 
the possession of dirt. 


Osric. Sir, here is newly come to court Laertes ; believe me, an 
absolute gentleman, full of most excellent differences, of very soft society 
and great showing : indeed to speak feelingly of him, he is the card or 
calendar of gentry, for you shall find in him the continent of what part 
a gentleman would see. Hamlet^ v. ii. 84 — 117 

Hotspur. When the fight was done, 

When I was dry with rage and extreme toil. 
Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword. 
Came there a certain lord, neat, and trimly dress'd, 
Fresh as a bridegroom ; and his chin, new reap'd, 
Show'd like a stubble-land at harvest-home : 
He was perfumed like a milliner, 
And 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held 
A pouncet-box, which ever and anon 
He gave his nose and took't away again ; 
Who therewith angry when it next came there, 
Took it in snuff: and still he smiled and talk'dj 
And as the soldiers bore dead bodies by. 
He call'd them untaught knaves, unmannerly, 
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corpse 
Betwixt the wind and his nobility. 

I Henry IF.y I. iii. 30 — 45 

The courtier's hands are perfumed with civet. 

As Tou Like !t, in. ii. 67 

A courtier to all men's thinking is a man, and to most men 
the finest : all things else are defined by the understanding, but 
this by the senses : but his surest mark is, that he is to be found 
only about princes. He smells ; and putteth away much of his 
judgment about the situation of his clothes. He knows no man 
that is not generally known. His wit, like the marigold, openeth 
with the sun, and therefore he riseth not before ten of the 
clock. He puts more confidence in his words than meaning, 



and more in his pronunciation than his words. Occasion is his 
Cupid, and he hath but one receipt of making love. He 
follows nothing but inconstancy, admires nothing but beauty, 
honours nothing but fortune, loves nothing. The sustenance 
of his discourse is news, and his censure, like a shot, depends 
upon the charging. He is not, if he be out of court j but fish- 
like breathes destruction, if out of his own element. Neither 
his motion nor aspect are regular, but he moves by the upper 
spheres, and is the reflection of higher substances. 

If you find him not here, you shall in Paul's, with a pick- 
tooth in his hat, a cape-cloak and a long stocking. 

Sir Thomas Overbury, Characters 1614 

Touchstone as a Courtier 

Jaques, Good my lord, bid him welcome. This is the 
motley-minded gentleman that I have so often met in the forest: 
he hath been a courtier, he swears. 

Touchstone, If any man doubt that, let him put me to my 
purgation. I have trod a measure ; I have flattered a lady ; I 
have been politic with my friend, smooth with mine enemy; I 
have undone three tailors ; I have had four quarrels, and like to 
have fought one, 

Jaque:. And how was that ta'en up ? 

Touchstom. Faith, we met, and found the quarrel was upon 
the seventh cause. 

yaques. How seventh cause?... How did you find the 
quarrel on the seventh cause ? 

Touchstone. U pon a lie seven times removed . . .as thus, sir. I 
did dislike the cut of a certain courtier's beard : he sent me word, 
if I said his beard was not cut well, he was in the mind it was : 
this is called " the retort courteous," If I sent him word again, 
it was not -nq.{{ cut, he would send me word, he cut it to please 
himself: this is called "the qu*p modest." If again, it was not well 
cut, he disabled my judgment : this is called the " reply churlish." 
If again, it wvs not cut well, he would answer, I spake not true : 
this is called tho "reproof valiant" : if again, it was not well cut, 
he would say, I lie: this is called the '* countercheck quarrel- 
some": and so to the "lie circumstantial" and the "lie direct." 

Jaques, And how oft did you say his beard was not well 


Touchstone. I durst go no further than the "He circum- 
stantial," nor he durst not give me the "lie direct'*; and so we 
measured swords and parted. 

Jaques, Can you nominate in order now the degrees of the 

Touchstone. O sir, we quarrel in print ; by the book, as you 
have books for good manners : I will name you the degrees. The 
first, the "retort courteous"; the second, the "quip modest"; 
the third, the "reply churhsh"; the fourth, the "reproof valiant"; 
the fifth, the " countercheck quarrelsome "; the sixth, the " lie with 
• circumstance" ; the seventh, the "lie direct." All these you may 
avoid but the lie direct; and you may avoid that too with an 
" if." I knew when seven justices could not take up a quarrel ; 
but when the parties were met themselves, one of them thought 
but of an " if," as "If you said so, then I said so"; and they 
shook hands, and swore brothers. Your " if" is the only peace- 
maker; much virtue in "if." 

As You Like It, v. iv. 40 — 109 

§ 3. Masques at Court 

Duke Theseus. Come now ; what masques, what dances shall we have, 
To wear away this long^ age of three hours 
Between our after-supper and bed-time? 
Where is our usual manager of mirth ? 
What revels are in hand ? Is there no play, 
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour? 
Call Philostrate. 

Philostrate. Here, mighty Theseus. 

Duke Theseus. Say, what abridgment have you for this evening ? 
What masque? what music? How shall we beguile 
The lazy time, if not with some delight ? 

Philostrate. There is a brief how many sports are ripe: 

Make choice of which your highness will see first. 
A Midsummer Night^s Dreaniy v. i. 32 — 43 

Masques in honour of the marriage of Princess Elizabeth, 
daughter of James L, Feb, tt — 16, t6i3 

And that night, in honour of this joyful nuptial, there was 
a very stately masque of lords and ladies, with many ingenious 
speeches, delicate devices, melodious music, plea:;ant dances, 
with other princely entertainments of time, all which were 



singularly well performed in the Banqueting-house, The 
four honourable Inns of Court, as well the elders and grave 
benchers of each house as the towardly young active gallant 
gentlemen of the same houses, being of infinite desire to express 
their singular love and duteous affection to his Majesty, and to 
perform some memorable and acceptable service worthy their 
own reputation, in honour of this nuptial, and thereupon with 
great expedition they jointly and severally consulted and agreed 
amongst themselves to set out two several rich and stately 
masques, and to perform them bravely, without respect of 
charge or expenses, and from amongst themselves they selected 
the most pregnant and active gentlemen to be their masquers, 
who, to the lasting honour of themselves and their societies, 
performed all things as worthily. They employed the best 
wits and skilfullest artisans in devising, composing and erect- 
ing their several strange properties, excellent speeches, pleasant 
devices and delicate music, brave in habit, rich in ornaments, 
in demeanour courtly, in their going by land and water very 
stately and orderly: all which, with their rare inventions and 
variable entertainments of time, were such as the like was 
never performed in England by any society, and was now as 
graciously accepted of by his Majesty, the Queen, the Prince, 
the bride and bridegroom, from whom they received all princely 
thanks and encouragement. Concerning which two masques, 
with the multiplicity of devices, depending upon those enter- 
tainments of time, though I may not set down the particulars, 
nor say all I ought in their deserving commendations, by reason 
it would require a very large discourse, yet for distinction sake 
I will briefly set down their several times and order of going to 
the court. 

Upon Shrove Monday at night, the gentlemen of the Middle 
Temple and Lincoln's Inn, with their train for this business, 
assembled in Chancery Lane, at the house of Sir Edward Philips, 
Master of the Rolls, and about eight of the clock they marched 
thence through the Strand, to the court at Whitehall, in this 
manner. First rode fifty choice gentlemen richly attired, and as 
gallantly mounted, with every one his footman to attend him; 
these rode very stately like a vanguard. Next after, with fit 
distance, marched an antic or mock-masque of baboons, attired 
like fantastic travellers in very strange and confused manner, 



riding upon asses or dwarf jades, using all apish and mocking 
tricks to the people, moving much laughter as they passed with 
torches on either side to shew their state to be as ridiculous as the 
rest was noble. After them came two chariots triumphal, very- 
pleasant and fiill of state, wherein rode the choice musicians of this 
kingdom, in robes like to theVirginianpriests,with sundry devices, 
all pleasant and significant, with two ranks of torches. Then came 
the chief masquers with great state in white Indian habit or like 
the great princes of Barbary, richly embroidered with the golden 
sun, with suitable ornaments in all points ; about their necks were 
ruffs of feathers, spangled and beset with pearl and silver, and 
upon their heads lofty coronets suitable to the rest. They wore 
long silk stockings, curiously embroidered with gold to the mid-leg. 
Their buskins were likewise embroidered, and in their hands, 
as they rode, they brandished cane darts of the finest gold : their 
vizards were of olive colour, their hair long and black, down to 
their shoulders. The horses for rich shew equalled the masquers: 
their caparisons were enchased with suns of gold and ornamental 
jewels, with silver, scarfing over the whole caparison and about 
their heads, which made such a strange and glorious show, that 
it dazzled the eyes of the beholders with great admiration. 
Every of these horses had two Moors to attend them, attired like 
Indian slaves, with wreaths of gold and watshod about their 
heads, being about an hundred in number. The torch-bearers 
carried torches of virgin wax, the staves whereof were great 
canes gilded all over, and their habits were likewise of the 
Indian garb, but more extravagant than those of the masquers. 
The masquers rode single, and had every man his torch-bearer 
riding before him. All which, with the last triumphal chariot, 
wherein sat many strange attired personages, with their emblems, 
conceitful and variable devices, made a wondrous pleasing show. 
And thus they marched through the Strand to Whitehall, 
where the King, the Prince, the bride and bridegroom, and the 
chief nobility stood in the gallery before the tilt-yard to behold 
their approach ; and because there should be a full view had of 
their state and train, the King caused them to march one turn 
about the list; and being dismounted, they were honourably 
attended through the gallery to a chamber, in which they were 
to make them ready for performance of their scene in the hallj 
in which place were erected their sundry properties and devices, 



formerly mentioned, where they performed all things answerable 
to the best of expectation, and received as royal thanks and 

The next day being Shrove Tuesday, the gentlemen of the 
Inner Temple and Gray's Inn, with their train and many other 
gallant young gentlemen of both these houses as their convoy, 
assembled themselves at Winchester House, being the appointed 
place for their rendezvous. This night's entertainment consisted 
of three several masques, viz. an anti masque of a strange and 
different fashion from others, both in habit and manners, and 
very delectable ; a rural or country masque consisting of many 
persons, men and women, being all in sundry habits, being like- 
wise as strange, variable and delightful; the third, which they 
called the main masque, was a masque of knights, attired in 
arming doublets of carnation satin, richly embroidered with 
stars of silver plate beset with smaller stars, spangles and 
silver lace, between gorgets of silver mail, with long Venetian 
hose embroidered suitable to the rest, silk carnation stockings 
embroidered all over, their garters and roses answerable. Their 
hats were of the same stuff and embroidered, cut before 
like a helmet and the hinder part like a scallop, answering 
the skirts of their doublets; their hat-bands were wreaths of 
silver, in form of garlands of wild olives; their feathers white 
and carnation ; their belts embroidered, silver swords, little 
Italian falling-bands and cuffs embroidered ; their hair fair and 
long; their vizards fair and young; and concerning their sundry 
ingenious properties and devices already erected in the court 
hall, they were all excellent, fraught with art, state and delights, 
having all their actors correspondent. These masquers, with 
their whole train in all triumphant manner and good order, took 
barge at Winchester stairs, about seven of the clock that night, 
and rowed to Whitehall against the tide. The chief masquers 
went in the King's barge royally adorned, and plenteously fur- 
nished with a great number of great war-lights, that they alone 
made a glorious show. Other gentlemen went in the Prince's 
barge, and certain other went in other fair barges, and were led 
by two admirals. Besides all these, they had four lusty war- 
like galleys to convoy and attend them. Each barge and galley, 
being replenished with store of torch-lights, made so rare and 
brave a show upon the water as the like was never seen upon the 



Thames. They had three peals of great ordnance In three 
several places upon the shore, viz. when they embarked, as they 
past by the Temple, and at Strangate w^hen they arrived at court, 
where the King, Prince Charles, the bride and bridegroom, 
stood in the upper gallery to behold them upon the water and 
to view them in particular at their arrival. They landed at the 
privy stairs, and were received by the Lord Chamberlain and 
conducted to the vestry, for the hall wherein they should per- 
form their scene was by this time filled with company : who 
although they were of very good fashion, yet were there many 
principal ladies and other noble personages, besides ambassadors 
and other strangers of account, not come, so as when they should 
be placed, the room would be so scanted, as it would prove very 
inconvenient; whereupon his Majesty was most graciously 
pleased, with consent of the gentlemen masquers, to put it 
off until the next Saturday, and that then they should perform 
all their present intended entertainments in the great Banqueting- 
house, adding this favour withal, that this deferring should be no 
impediment unto the outward ceremony of magnificence until 
that day. And upon Saturday, at seven of the clock at night, 
they came privately In troop, and were brought to their places 
by the Earl of Northampton, and a choice room was reserved 
for the gentlemen of both these houses; and that night they 
bravely performed their scene, to the great delight, and full 
satisfaction of all the beholders; and from his Majesty they 
received as kingly thanks, and gracious acceptation. 

Edmond Howes, Annales 1615 

§ 4. The Death of Queen Elizabeth 

Within the hollow crown 
That rounds the mortal temples of a king 
Keeps Death his court ; and there the antick sits, 
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp ; 
Allowing him a breath, a little scene, 
To monarchize, be fear'd and kill with looks: 
Infusing him with self and vain conceit, 
As if this fiesh, which walls about our life, 
Were brass impregnable; and humour'd thus, 
Comes at the last, and with a little pin 
Bores through his castle-wall, and farewell, king ! 

EJchard ll.f iii. ii. 160 — 170 



Le rot est mort, 'ui've le rot! 

[The events here described took place in March, 1603 ^^ Richmond 

When I came to court, I found the Queen ill disposed, and 
she kept her inner lodging; yet she, hearing of my arrival, 
sent for me. I found her in one of her withdrawing chambers, 
sitting low upon her cushions. She called me to her; I kissed 
her hand, and told her, it was my chiefest happiness to see her in 
safety and in health, which I wished might long continue. She 
took me by the hand, and wrung it hard ; and said " No, Robin, 
I am not well ! " and then discoursed with me of her indisposi- 
tion, and that her heart had been sad and heavy for ten or twelve 
days; and, in her discourse, she fetched not so few as forty or 
fifty great sighs. I was grieved, at the first, to see her in this 
plight : for, in all my lifetime before, I never knew her fetch a 
sigh, but when the Queen of Scots was beheaded ; then, upon 
my knowledge, she shed many tears and sighs, manifesting her 
innocence that she never gave consent to the death of that 
Queen. I used the best words I could to persuade her from 
this melancholy humour; but I found by her it was too deep 
rooted in her heart, and hardly to be removed. This was upon 
a Saturday night: and she gave command that the great closet 
should be prepared for her to go to chapel the next morning. 

The next day, all things being in a readiness, we long 
expected her coming. After eleven o'clock, one of the grooms 
came out, and bade make ready for the private closet; she 
would not go to the great. There we stayed long for her 
coming: but at last she had cushions laid for her in the privy 
chamber, hard by the closet door; and there she heard service. 
From that day forwards she grew worse and worse. She re- 
mained upon her cushions four days and nights, at the least. All 
about her could not persuade her, either to take any sustenance 
or go to bed. I, hearing that neither the physicians, nor none 
about her, could persuade her to take any course for her safety, 
feared her death would soon after ensue. I could not but think 
in what a wretched estate I should be left, most of my liveli- 
hood depending on her life. And hereupon I bethought myself 
with what grace and favour I was ever received by the King 
of Scots, whensoever I was sent to him. I did assure myself it 



was neither unjust nor unhonest for me to do for myself, if 
God at that time should call her to his mercy. Hereupon I 
wrote to the King of Scots, knowing him to be the right heir 
to the crown of England, and certified him in what state her 
Majesty was. I desired him not to stir from Edinburgh : if 
of that sickness she should die, I would be the first man that 
should bring him news of it. 

The Queen grew worse and worse, because she would be 
so : none about her being able to persuade her to go to bed. 
My Lord Admiral was sent for, who, by reason of my sister's 
death that was his wife, had absented himself some fortnight 
from court. What by fair means, what by force, he gat her 
to bed. There was no hope of her recovery, because she refused 
all remedies. On Wednesday, the 23rd of March, she grew 
speechless. That afternoon, by signs, she called for her Council : 
and by putting her hand to her head, when the King of Scots 
was named to succeed her, they all knev/ he was the man she 
desired should reign after her. About six at night, she made 
signs for the Archbishop, and her chaplains to come to her ; at 
which time, I went in with them, and sat upon my knees full 
of tears to see that heavy sight. Her Majesty lay upon her 
back, with one hand in the bed and the other without. The 
bishop kneeled down by her, and examined her first of her 
faith : and she so punctually answered all his several questions 
by lifting up her eyes and holding up her hand, as it was a 
comfort to all beholders. Then the good man told her plainly, 
what she was and what she was to come to, and though she 
had been long a great Queen here upon earth, yet shortly she 
was to yield an accompt of her stewardship to the King of 
Kings. After this he began to pray, and all that were by did 
answer him. After he had continued long in prayer, till the old 
man's knees were weary, he blessed her, and meant to rise and 
leave her. The Queen made a sign with her hand. My sister 
Scroop, knowing her meaning, told the bishop, the Queen 
desired he would pray still. He did so for a long half-hour 
after, and then thought to leave her. The second time she 
made sign to have him continue in prayer. He did so for half 
an hour more, with earnest cries to God for her soul's health, 
which he uttered with that fervency of spirit as the Queen, to 
all our sight, much rejoiced thereat, and gave testimony to us 



all of her Christian and comfortable end. By this time, it grew 
late, and every one departed, all but her women that attended 
her. This that I heard with my ears and did see with my eyes, 
I thought it my duty to set dov/n, and to affirm it for a truth 
upon the faith of a Christian ; because I know there have been 
many false lies reported of the end and death of that good lady. 

I went to my lodging, and left word with one in the 
cofferer's chamber to call me, if that night it was thought she 
would die; and gave the porter an angel to let me in at any 
time, when I called. Between one and two of the clock on 
Thursday morning, he that I left in the cofferer's chamber, 
brought me word the Queen was dead. I rose and made all 
haste to the gate, to get in. There I was answered, I could 
not enter : the Lords of the Council having been with him and 
commanded him that none should go in or out, but by warrant 
from them. At the very instant, one of the Council, the 
Comptroller, asked whether I was at the gate. I said " Yes." 
He said, if I pleased, he would let me in. I desired to know 
how the Queen was. He answered, "Pretty well." I bade 
him good-night. He replied and said, "Sir, if you will come 
inj I will give you my word and credit you shall go out 
again at your own pleasure." Upon his word, I entered the 
gate, and came up to the cofferer's chamber: where I found 
all the ladies weeping bitterly. He led me from thence to the 
privy chamber, where all the Council was assembled. There 
I was caught hold of; and assured I should not go for Scotland 
till their pleasures were further known. I told them I came 
of purpose to that end. From thence, they all went to the 
secretary's chamber: and, as they went, they gave a special 
command to the porters, that none should go out at the gates 
but such servants as they should send to prepare their coaches 
and horses for London. 

There was I left, in the midst of the court, to think my own 
thoughts till they had done counsel. I went to my brother's 
chamber, who was in bed, having been overwatched many 
nights before. I got him up with all speed; and when the 
Council's men were going out of the gate, my brother thrust to 
the gate. The porter, knowing him to be a great officer, let 
him out. I pressed after him, and was stayed by the porter. 
My brother said angrily to the porter, " Let him out, I will 



answer for him ! " Whereupon I was suffered to pass : which 
I was not a little glad of. I got to horse, and rode to the 
Knight Marshal's lodging by Charing Cross; and there stayed 
till the Lords came to Whitehall Garden. I stayed there till it 
was nine o'clock in the morning; and hearing that all the Lords 
were in the old orchard at Whitehall, I sent the Marshal to 
tell them, that I had stayed all that while to know their 
pleasures ; and that I would attend them, if they would com- 
mand me any service. They were very glad when they heard 
I was not gone: and desired the Marshal to send for me; and I 
should, with all speed, be despatched for Scotland. The Marshal 
believed them; and sent Sir Arthur Savage for me. I made 
haste to them. One of the Council, my Lord of Banbury that 
now is, whispered the Marshal in the ear, and told him, if I 
came they would stay me and send some other in my stead. 
The Marshal got from them and met me coming to them, 
between the two gates. He bade me be gone, for he had 
learned, for certain, that if I came to them, they would betray 

I returned, and took horse between nine and ten o'clock ; 
and that night rode to Doncaster. The Friday night I came 
to my own house at Witherington, and presently took order 
with my deputies to see the Borders kept in quiet ; which they 
had much to do: and gave order, the next morning, the King 
of Scotland should be proclaimed King of England, and at 
Morpeth and Alnwick. Very early, on Saturday, I took horse 
for Edinburgh, and came to Norham about twelve at noon, so 
that I might well have been with the King at supper time. But 
I got a great fall by the way; and my horse, with one of his 
heels, gave me a great blow on the head, that made me shed 
much blood. It made me so weak, that I was forced to ride a 
soft pace after : so that the King was newly gone to bed by the 
time I knocked at the gate. I was quickly let in ; and carried 
up to the King's Chamber. I kneeled by him, and saluted him 
by his title of " England, Scotland, France, and Ireland." He 
gave me his hand to kiss, and bade me welcome. After he had 
long discoursed of the manner of the Queen's sickness, and of her 
death, he asked what letters I had from the Council. I told 
him, none : and acquainted him how narrowly I escaped from 
them. And yet I brought him a blue ring from a fair lady, 



that I hoped would give him assurance of the truth that I had 
reported. He took it, and looked upon it, and said, "It is 
enough. I know by this you are a true messenger." Then 
he committed me to the charge of my Lord Hume, and 
gave straight command that I should want nothing. He sent for 
his chirurgeons to attend me ; and when I kissed his hand, at my 
departure, he said to me these gracious words: "I know you 
have lost a near kinswoman and a loving mistress : but take here 
my hand, I will be as good a master to you, and will requite 
you this service with honour and reward." So I left him that 
night, and went with my Lord Hume to my lodging: where I 
had all things fitting for so weary a man as I was. After my 
head was dressed, I took leave of my Lord and many others that 
attended me, and went to my rest. 

The next morning, by ten o'clock, my Lord Hume was sent 
to me from the King, to know how I had rested : and withal 
said, that his Majesty commanded him to know of me, what it 
was that I desired most that he should do for me; bade me ask, 
and it should be granted. I desired my Lord to say to his 
Majesty from me, that I had no reason to importune him for 
any suit ; for that I had not, as yet, done him any service : but 
my humble request to his Majesty was to admit me a gentle- 
man of his bedchamber; and hereafter, I knew, if his Majesty 
saw me worthy, I should not want to taste his bounty. My 
Lord returned this ansv/er, that he sent me word back, "With 
all his heart, I should have my request." And the next time I 
came to court, which was some four days after at night, I was 
called into his bedchamber: and there, by my Lord of Richmond, 
in his presence, I was sworn one of the gentlemen of his bed- 
chamber; and presently I helped to take off his clothes, and 
stayed till he was in bed. After this, there came, daily, gentle- 
men and noblemen from our court; and the King set down a 
fixed day for his departure towards London. 

Sir Robert Carey, Memoirs, pub. 1759, written before 1627 



"Fast bind, fast find," 

A proverb never stale in thrifty mind. 

The Merchant of Venice^ ii. v. 54 — 55 

§ I. Houses and Furniture 

My house within the city 
Is richly furnished with plate and gold : 
Basins and ewers to lave her dainty hands ; 
My hangings all of Tyrian tapestry ; 
In ivory coffers I have stuff 'd my crowns j 
In cypress chests my arras counterpoints, 
Costly apparel, tents, and canopies. 
Fine linen, Turkey cushions boss'd with pearl. 
Valance of Venice gold in needle-work. 
Pewter and brass, and all things that belong 
To house or housekeeping : then at my farm 
I have a hundred milch-kine to the pail, 
Six score fat oxen standing in my stalls. 
And all things answerable to this portion. 

Tatning of the Shrenv^ 11, i. 340 — 353 

[May 4, 1597, Shakespeare buys New Place, Stratford-on-Avon. He 
takes up his residence there in 1608, and dies there April 23, 1616.] 

The greatest part of our building in the cities and good 
towns of England consisteth only of timber, for as yet few of the 
houses of the communalty (except here and there in the west- 
country towns) are made of stone, although they may in 
my opinion in divers other places be builded so good cheap 
of the one as of the other. In old time the houses of the 
Britons were slightly set up with a few posts and many raddles, 





with stable and all offices under one roof, the like whereof almost 
is to be seen in the fenny countries and northern parts unto this 
day, where for lack of wood they are enforced to continue this 
ancient manner of building.... 

Certes this rude kind of building made the Spaniards in 
Queen Mary's days to wonder, but chiefly when they saw what 
large diet was used in many of these so homely cottages; inso- 
much that one of no small reputation amongst them said after 
this manner — "These English," quoth he, "have their houses 
made of sticks and dirt, but they fare commonly so well as the 
king." Whereby it appeareth that he liked better of our good 
fare in such coarse cabins than of their own thin diet in their 
prince-like habitations and palaces. In like sort as every country 
house is thus apparelled on the outside, so is it inwardly divided 
into sundry rooms above and beneath; and, where plenty of 
wood is, they cover them with tiles, otherwise with straw, sedge 
or reed, except some quarry of slate be near hand, from 
whence they have for their money much as may suffice them. 
The clay wherewith our houses are impanelled is either white, red 
or blue ; and of these the first doth participate very much of the 
nature of our chalk, the second is called loam, but the third 
eftsoons changeth colour as soon as it is wrought, notwithstanding 
that it looks blue when it is thrown out of the pit.... 

The walls of our houses on the inner sides in like sort be 
either hanged with tapestry, arras work, or painted cloths, 
wherein either divers histories, or herbs, beasts, knots and such 
like are stained, or else they are ceiled with oak of our own, or 
wainscot brought hither out of the east countries, whereby the 
rooms are not a little commended, made warm and much more 
close than otherwise they would be. As for stoves, we have not 
hitherto used them greatly, yet do they now begin to be made 
in divers houses of the gentry and wealthy citizens, who build 
them not to work and feed in, as in Germany and elsewhere, 
but now and then to sweat in, as occasion and need shall 
require it. 

This also hath been common in England, contrary to the 
customs of ail other nations, and yet to be seen (for example, in 
most streets of London), that many of our greatest houses have 
outwardly been very simple and plain to sight, which inwardly 
have been able to receive a duke with his whole train, and lodge 

W o 209 


them at their ease. Hereby, moreover, it is come to pass that 
the fronts of our streets have not been so uniform and orderly 
builded as those of foreign cities, where (to say truth) the outer 
side of their mansions and dwellings have oft more cost bestowed 
upon them than all the rest of the house, which are often very 
simple and uneasy within, as experience doth confirm. Of old 
time, our country houses, instead of glass, did use much lattice, 
and that made either of wicker or fine rifts of oak in chequer- 
wise. I read also that some of the better sort, in and before the 
times of the Saxons (who notwithstanding used some glass also 
since the time of Benedict Biscop, the monk that brought the 
feat of glazing first into the land), did make panels of horn instead 
of glass, and fix them in wooden calms. But as horn in windows 
is now quite laid down in every place, so our lattices are also 
grown into less use, because glass is come to be so plentiful 
and within a very little so good cheap, if not better than the 

The furniture of our houses also exceedeth, and is grown in 
manner even to passing delicacy: and herein I do not speak of 
the nobility and gentry only, but likewise of the lowest sort in 
most places of our south country that have anything at all to 
take to. Certes in noblemen's houses it is not rare to see 
abundance of arras, rich hangmgs of tapestry, silver vessel, an d 
so much other plate as may furnish sundry cupboards to the sum 
oftentimes of a thousand or two thousand pounds at the least, 
whereby the value of this and the rest of their stuff doth grow 
to be almost inestimable. Likewise in the houses of knights, 
gentlemen, merchantmen, and some other wealthy citizens, it is 
not geason to behold generally their great provision of tapestry, 
TurkgjLJgor k, pewter ^jrass^ ne linen, and ^thereto costly cup- 
boards of plate, worth five or six hundred or a thousand pounds 
to be deemed by estimation. But, as herein all these sorts do 
far exceed their elders and predecessors, and in neatness and 
curiosity the merchant all other, so in time past the costly 
furniture stayed there, whereas now it is descended yet lower 
even unto the inferior artificers and many farmers, who, by 
virtue of their old and not of their new leases, have for the most 
part learned also to garnish their cupboards with plate, their 
joined beds with tapestry and silk hangings, and their tables with 
carpets and fine napery, whereby the wealth ofour country \G6^ 



be praised therefore, and give us grace to employ it well) doth 
infinitely appear. Neither do I speak this in reproach of any 
man, God is my judge, but to shew that I do rejoice rather to 
see how God hath blessed us with his good gifts; and whilst I 
behold how that, in a time wherein all things are grown to most 
excessive prices, and what commodity so ever is to be had is 
daily plucked from the communalty by such as look into every 
trade, we do yet find the means to obtain and achieve such 
furniture as heretofore hath been unpossible. 

There are old men yet dwelling in the village where I remain 
which have noted three things to be marvellously altered in 
England within their sound remembrance, and other three 
things too too much increased. 

One is the multitude of chimneys lately erected, whereas in 
their young days there were not above two or three, if so many, 
in most uplandish towns of the realm (the religious houses and 
manor places of their lords always excepted, and peradventure 
some great personages), but each one made his fire against a 
reredos in the hall, where he dined and dressed his meat. 

The second is the great (although not general) amendment 
of lodging ; for, said they, our fathers, yea and we ourselves also, 
have lain full oft upon straw pallets, on rough mats covered only 
with a sheet, under coverlets made of dagswain or hopharlots (I 
use their own terms), and a good round log under their heads 
instead of a bolster or pillow.. If it were so that our fathers 
or the goodman of the house had within seven years after his 
marriage purchased a mattress or flock bed, and thereto a sack of 
chaff" to rest his head upon, he thought himself to be as well lodged 
as the lord of the town, that peradventure lay seldom in a bed of 
down or whole feathers, so well were they contented, and with 
such base kind of furniture ; which also is not very much amended 
as yet in some parts of Bedfordshire, and elsewhere, further off 
from our southern parts. Pillows (said they) were thought meet 
only for women in childbed. As for servants, if they had any 
sheet above them, it was well, for seldom had they any under 
their bodies to keep them from the pricking straws that ran oft 
through the canvas of the pallet and rased their hardened hides. 

The third thing they tell of is the exchange of vessel, as of 
treen platters into pewter, and wooden spoons into silver or tin. 
For so common were all sorts of treen stuff in old time that a man 

02 211 


should hardly find four pieces of pewter (of which one was per- 
ad venture a salt) in a good farmer's house, and yet for all this 
frugality (if it may so be justly called) they were scarce able to 
live and pay their rents at their days without selling of a 
cow or a horse or more, although they paid but four pounds at 
the uttermost by the year. Such also was their poverty that, if 
some one odd farmer or husbandman had been at the ale-house, 
a thing greatly used in those days, amongst six or seven of his 
neighbours, and there in a bravery, to shew what store he had, 
did cast down his purse, and therein a noble or six shillings in 
silver, unto them (for few such men then cared for gold, because 
it was not so ready payment, and they were oft enforced to give 
a penny for the exchange of an angel), it was very likely that 
all the rest could not lay down so much against it; whereas in 
my time, although peradventure four pounds of old rent be im- 
proved to forty, fifty or a hundred pounds, yet will the farmer, 
as another palm or date tree, think his gains very small towards 
the end of his term if he have not six or seven years* rent lying 
by him, therewith to purchase a new lease, beside a fair garnish 
of pewter on his cupboard, with so much more in odd vessel 
going about the house, three or four feather beds, so many 
coverlets and carpets of tapestry, a silver salt, a bowl for wine (if 
not a whole nest), and a dozen of spoons to furnish up the suit, 
William Harrison, Description of England 1587 (2nd ed.) 

§ 2. Gardens and Orchards 

Justice Shalloiv. Nay, you shall see mine orchard, where, in an arbour, 
we will eat a last year's pippin of my own graffing, with a dish of caraways, 
and so forth j come, cousin Silence j and then to bed. 

Sir John Falstaff. 'Fore God, you have here a goodly dwelling and 
a rich. 2 Henry IF., v. iii. i — 6 

Lord ! who would live turmoiled in the court 
And may enjoy such quiet walks as these ? 

2 Henry H.y iv. x. 18 — 19 

If you look into our gardens annexed to our houses, how 
wonderfully is their beauty increased, not only with flowers 
...and variety of curious and costly workmanship, but also 
with rare and medicinable herbs sought up in the land within 



these forty years: so that, in comparison of this present, 
the ancient gardens were but dunghills and laystows to such as 
did possess them. How art also helpeth nature in the daily 
colouring, doubling and enlarging the proportion of our flowers, it 
is incredible to report: for so curious and cunning are our gardeners 
now in these days that they presume to do in manner what they 
list with nature, and moderate her course in things as if they 
were her superiors. It is a world also to see how many strange 
herbs, plants and annual fruits are daily brought unto us from 
the Indies, Americans, Taprobane, Canary Isles, and all parts of 
the world : the which, albeit that in respect of the constitutions 
of our bodies they do not grow for us, because that God hath 
bestowed sufficient commodities upon every country for her own 
necessity, yet, for delectation sake unto the eye and their 
odoriferous savours unto the nose, they are to be cherished, and 
God to be glorified also in them, because they are his good gifts, 
and created to do man help and service. There is not almost 
one nobleman, gentleman or merchant that hath not great store 
of these flowers, which now also do begin to wax so well 
acquainted with our soils that we may almost account of them 
as parcel of our own commodities. They have no less regard in 
like sort to cherish medicinable herbs fetched out of other 
regions nearer hand, insomuch that I have seen in some one 
garden to the number of three hundred or four hundred of them, 
if not more, of the half of whose names within forty years 
past we had no manner knowledge. But herein I find some 
cause of just complaint, for that we extol their uses so far that 
we fall into contempt of our own, which are in truth more 
beneficial and apt for us than such as grow elsewhere, sith (as I 
said before) every region hath abundantly within her own limits 
whatsoever is needful and most convenient for them that dwell 

And even as it fareth with our gardens, so doth it with our 
orchards, which were never furnished with so good fruit nor 
with such variety as at this present. For, beside that we have 
most delicate apples, plums, pears, walnuts, filberts, etc., and 
those of sundry sorts, planted within forty years past, in com- 
parison of which most of the old trees are nothing worth, so 
have we no less store of strange fruit, as apricots, almonds, 
peaches, figs, corn-trees in noblemen's orchards. I have seen 



capers, oranges and lemons, and heard of wild olives growing 
here, beside other strange trees brought from far, whose names 
I know not. So that England for these commodities was never 
better furnished, neither any nation under their clime more 
plentifully endued with these and other blessings from the most 
high God, who grant us grace withal to use the same to his 
honour and glory, and not as instruments and provocations 
unto further excess and vanity, wherewith his displeasure may 
be kindled, lest these his benefits do turn unto thorns and 
briers unto us for our annoyance and punishment, which he 
hath bestowed upon us for our consolation and comfort. 

William Harrison, Description of England 1587 (2nd ed.) 

§ 3. Housekeeping and the table 

Lady Capulet. Hold, take these keys, and fetch more spices, nurse. 

Nurse. They call for dates and quinces in the pastry. 

Capulet. Come, stir, stir, stir ! the second cock hath crow'd 
The curfew bell hath rung, 'tis three o'clock : 
Look to the bak'd meats, good Angelica : 
Spare not for cost. Romeo and Juliet^ iv. iv. i — 5 

Let me see ; what am I to buy for our sheep-shearing feast ? "Three 
pound of sugar ; five pound of currants ; rice," what will this sister of 
mine do with rice?. ..I must have saffron, to colour the warden pies; 
mace, dates, — none ; that's out of my note : nutmegs seven ; a race or 
two of ginger, — but that I may beg, — four pound of prunes, and as 
many of raisins o' the sun. The fVinters Tale, iv. ii. 38 — 53 

An English Housewife 

A woman mov'd is like a fountain troubled, 
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty ; 
• * * « * 

Such duty as the subject owes the prince. 
Even such a woman oweth to her husband j 
And when she's fro ward, peevish, sullen, sour. 
And not obedient to his honest will. 
What is she but a foul contending rebel. 
And graceless traitor to her loving lord ? 

The Taming of the ShrenUy v. ii. 137 — 161 

It IS now meet that we descend in as orderly a method as 
we can, to the office of our English housewife, who is the 
mother and mistress of the family, and hath her most general 



employments within the house ; where from the general example 
of her virtues, and the most approved skill of her knowledges, 
those of her family may both learn to serve God, and sustain 
man in that godly and profitable sort which is required of every 
true Christian. 

First then to speak of the inward virtues of her mind ; she 
ought, above all things, to be of an upright and sincere religion, 
and in the same both zealous and constant; giving by her 
example, an incitement and spur unto all her family to pursue 
the same steps, and to utter forth by the instruction of her life, 
those virtuous fruits of good living, which shall be pleasing both 
to God and his creatures ; I do not mean that herein she should 
utter forth that violence of spirit which many of our (vainly 
accounted pure*) women do, drawing a contempt upon the 
ordinary ministry, and thinking nothing lawful but the fan- 
tasies of their own inventions, usurping to themselves a power 
of preaching and interpreting the holy word, to which only 
they ought to be but hearers and believers, or at the most but 
modest persuaders; this is not the office either of good housewife 
or good woman. But let our English housewife be a godly, 
constant and religious woman, learning from the worthy 
preacher and her husband those good examples which she 
shall with all careful diligence see exercised amongst her 

In which practice of hers, what particular rules arc to be 
observed, I leave her to learn of them who are professed divines, 
and have purposely written of this argument ; only thus much 
will I say, which each one's experience will teach him to be true, 
that the more careful the master and mistress are to bring up 
their servants in the daily exercises of religion toward God, the 
more faithful they shall find them in all their businesses towards 
men, and procure God's favour the more plentifully on all the 
household: and therefore a small time morning and evening 
bestowed in prayers, and other exercises of religion, will prove 
no lost time at the week's end. 

Next unto this sanctity and holiness of life, it is meet that 
our English housewife be a woman of great modesty and tem- 
perance as well inwardly as outwardly. Inwardly, as in her 
behaviour and carriage towards her husband, wherein she shall 
* i.c. puritan. 



shun all violence of rage, passion and humour, coveting less to 
direct than to be directed, appearing ever unto him pleasant, 
amiable and delightful; and though occasion, mishaps or the 
misgovernment of his will may induce her to contrary thoughts, 
yet virtuously to suppress them, and vv^ith a mild sufferance 
rather to call him home from his error, than v^rith the strength 
of anger to abate the least spark of his evil, calling into her mind 
that evil and uncomely language is deformed though uttered 
even to servants, but most monstrous and ugly v/hcn it appears 
before the presence of a husband. Outwardly, as m her apparel 
and diet, both which she shall proportion according to the com- 
petency of her husband's estate and calling, making her circle 
rather strait than large, for it is a rule if we extend to the 
uttermost we take away increase, if we go a hair breadth beyond 
we enter into consumption, but if we preserve any part, we build 
strong forts against the adversaries of fortune, provided that such 
preservation be honest and conscionable : for as lavish prodigality 
is brutish, so miserable covetousness is hellish. Let therefore 
the housewife's garments be comely, cleanly and strong, made 
as well to preserve the health, as adorn the person, altogether 
without toyish garnishes or the gloss of light colours, and as far 
from the vanity of new and fantastic fashions, as near to the 
comely imitations of modest matrons. Let her diet be wholesome 
and cleanly, prepared at due hours, and cooked with care and 
diligence; let it be rather to satisfy nature than our affections, 
and apter to kill hunger than revive new appetites; let it proceed 
more from the provision of her own yard, than the furniture of 
the markets; and let it be rather esteemed for the familiar 
acquaintance she hath with it, than for the strangeness and 
rarity it bringeth from other countries. 

To conclude, our English housewife must be of chaste 
thought, stout courage, patient, untired, watchful, diligent, 
witty, pleasant, constant in friendship, full of good neighbour- 
hood, wise in discourse, but not frequent therein, sharp and 
quick of speech, but not bitter or talkative, secret in her aftairs, 
comfortable in her counsels, and generally skilful in all the 
worthy knowledges which do belong to her vocation. 

Gervase Markham, T/ie English Hus-iuife 1615 



TTie Table 
Clearing away 

First Servant. Where's Potpan, that he helps not to take away ? he 
shift a trencher ! he scrape a trencher ! 

Second Servant. When good manners shall lie all in one or two men's 
hands and they unwashed too, 'tis a foul thing. 

First Servant. Away with the joint-stools, remove the court-cupboard, 
look to the plate. Good thou, save me a piece of marchpane ; and, as 
thou lovest me, let the^ porter let in Susan Grindstone and Nell. Antony ! 
and Potpan ! 

Second Servant. Ay, boy ; ready. 

First Servant. You are looked for and called for, asked for and sought 
for in the great chamber. 

T/iird Servant, We cannot be here and there too. 

Romeo and Juliet^ i. v. i — 17 


The Italian Sansovino is much deceived, writing, that in 
general the English eat and cover the table at least four times 
in the day; for hovi^soever those that journey and some sickly 
men staying at home may perhaps take a small breakfast, yet in 
general the English eat but tw^o meals (of dinner and supper) 
each day, and I could never see him that useth to eat four times 
m the day. And I will profess for myself and other English- 
men, passing through Italy so famous for temperance, that we 
often observed, that howsoever we might have a pullet and some 
flesh prepared for us, eating it with a moderate proportion of 
bread, the Italians at the same time, with a charger full of 
herbs for a sallad, and with roots, and like meats of small price, 
would each of them eat two or three penny-worth of bread. 
And since all fulness is ill, and that of bread worst, I think we 
were more temperate in our diet, though eating more flesh, than 
they eating so much more bread than we did. It is true that 
the English prepare largely for ordinary diet for themselves and 
their friends coming by chance, and at feasts for invited friends 
are so excessive in the number of dishes, as the table is not 
thought well-furnished, except they stand one upon another. 
Neither use they to set drink on the table, for which no room is 
left, but the cups and glasses are served in upon a side table, 
drink being oflfered to none, till they call for it. 

Fynes Moryson, Itinerary 1617 



Of the food and diet of the English 

The situation of our region, lying near unto the north, doth 
cause the heat of our stomachs to be of somewhat greater force : 
therefore our bodies do crave a little more ample nourishment 
than the inhabitants of the hotter regions are accustomed withal, 
whose digestive force is not altogether so vehement, because 
their internal heat is not so strong as ours, which is kept in by 
the coldness of the air that from time to time (especially in 
winter) doth environ our bodies. 

It is no marvel therefore that our tables are oftentimes more 
plentifully garnished than those of other nations, and this trade 
hath continued with us even since the very beginning.,.. 

In number of dishes and change of meat the nobility of 
England (whose cooks are for the most part musical-headed 
Frenchmen and strangers) do most exceed, sith there is no day 
in manner that passeth over their heads wherein they have not 
only beef, mutton, veal, lamb, kid, pork, cony, capon, pig or so 
many of these as the season yieldeth, but also some portion of 
the red or fallow deer, beside great variety of fish and wild-fowl, 
and thereto sundry other delicates wherein the sweet hand of 
the seafaring Portingal is not wanting: so that for a man to dine 
with one of them, and to taste of every dish that standeth before 
him (which few use to do, but each one feedeth upon that meat 
him best liketh for the time, the beginning of every dish not- 
withstanding being reserved unto the greatest personage that 
sitteth at the table, to whom it is drawn up still by the waiters 
as order requireth, and from whom it descendeth again even to 
the lower end, whereby each one may taste thereof), is rather 
to yield unto a conspiracy with a great deal of meat for the 
speedy suppression of natural health, than the use of a necessary 
mean to satisfy himself with a competent repast to sustain his 
body withal. But as this large feeding is not seen in their 
guests no more is it in their own persons, for sith they have 
daily much resort unto their tables (and many times unlooked 
for) and thereto retain great numbers of servants, it is very 
requisite and expedient for them to be somewhat plentiful in 
this behalf. 

The chief part likewise of their daily provision is brought in 
before them (commonly in silver vessel, if they be of the degree 



of barons, bishops and upwards) and placed on their tables, 
whereof, when they have taken what it pleaseth them, the rest 
is reserved and afterward sent down to their serving men and 
waiters, who feed thereon in like sort with convenient modera- 
tion, their reversion also being bestowed upon the poor which 
lie ready at their gates in great numbers to receive the same. 
This is spoken of the principal tables whereat the nobleman, his 
lady and guests are accustomed to sit ; besides which they have 
a certain ordinary allowance daily appointed for their halls, 
wher? the chief officers and household servants (for all are not 
permitted by custom to wait upon their master), and with them 
such inferior guests do feed as are not of calling to associate 
the nobleman himself; so that, besides those aforementioned, 
which are called to the principal table, there are commonly forty 
or three score persons fed in those halls, to the great relief of such 
poor suitors and strangers also, as oft be partakers thereof and 
otherwise like to dine hardly. As for drink it is usually filled 
in pots, goblets, jugs, bowls of silver, in noblemen's houses ; also 
in fine Venice glasses of all forms ; and, for want of these else- 
where, in pots of earth of sundry colours and moulds, whereof 
many are garnished with silver, or at the leastwise in pewter, all 
which notwithstanding are seldom set on the table, but each one, 
as necessity urgeth, calleth for a cup of such drink as him listeth 
to have, so that, when he hath tasted of it, he delivereth the cup 
again to some one of the standers by, who, making it clean by 
pouring out the drink that remaineth, restoreth it to the cup- 
board from whence he fetched the same.... 

It is a world to see in these our days, wherein gold and 
silver most aboundeth, how that our gentility, as loathing those 
metals (because of the plenty) do now generally choose rather 
the Venice glasses, both for our wine and beer, than any of 
those metals or stone wherein before time we have been 
accustomed to drink; but such is the nature of man generally 
that it most coveteth things difficult to be attained; and 
such is the estimation of this stuff that many become rich 
only with their new trade unto Murano (a town near to Venice, 
situate on the Adriatic Sea), from whence the very best are 
daily to be had, and such as for beauty do well near match 
the crystal or the ancient Murrhina vasa whereof now no man 
hath knowledge. And as this is seen in the gentility, so in the 



wealthy communalty the like desire of glass is not neglected, 
whereby the gain gotten by their purchase is yet much more 
increased to the benefit of the merchant. The poorest also will 
have glass if they may; but, sith the Venetian is somewhat too 
dear for them, they content themselves with such as are made 
at home of fern and burnt stone; but in fine all go one way — 
that is, to shards at the last, so that our great expenses in glasses 
(besides that they breed much strife toward such as have the 
charge of them) are worst of all bestowed in mine opinion, 
because their pieces do turn unto no profit.... 

At such time as the merchants do make their ordinary or 
voluntary feasts, it is a world to see what great provision is made 
of all manner of delicate meats, from every quarter of the 
country, wherein, beside that they are often comparable herein 
to the nobility of the land, they will seldom regard anything 
that the butcher usually killeth, but reject the same as not 
worthy to come in place. In such cases also gellifs of all 
colours, mixed with a variety m the representation of sundry 
flowers, herbs, trees, forms of beasts, fish, fowls and fruits, and 
thereunto marchpane wrought with no small curiosity, tarts of 
divers hues and sundry denominations, conserves of old fruits, 
foreign and home-bred, suckets, codiniacs, marmalades, march- 
pane, sugar-bread, gingerbread, florentines, wild-fowl, venison of 
all sorts, and sundry outlandish confections, altogether seasoned 
with sugar (which Pliny called mel ex arundinibusy a device not 
common nor greatly used in old time at the table, but only in 
medicine, although it grew in Arabia, India, and Sicilia), do 
generally bear the sway, besides infinite devices of our own not 
possible for me to remember. Of the potato, and such venerous 
roots as are brought out of Spain, Portingal, and the Indies to 
furnish up our banquets, I speak not, wherein our mures of no 
less force, and to be had about Crosby-Ravenswath, do now 
begin to have place.... 

I might here talk somewhat of the great silence that is used 
at the tables of the honourable and wiser sort generally over all 
the realm (albeit that too much deserveth no commendation, for 
it belongeth to guests neither to be muti nor loquaces\ likewise of 
the moderate eating and drinking that is daily seen, and finally 
of the regard that each one hath to keep himself from the note 
of surfeiting and drunkenness (for which cause salt meat, except 



beef, bacon and pork, are not any whit esteemed, and yet these 
three may not be much powdered); but, as in rehearsal thereof 
I should commend the nobleman, merchant and frugal artificer, 
so I could not clear the meaner sort of husbandmen and country 
inhabitants of very much babbling (except it be here and there 
some odd yeoman), with whom he is thought to be the merriest 
that talketh of most ribaldry or the wisest man that speaketh 
fastest among them, and now and then surfeiting and drunken- 
ness which they rather fall into for want of heed-taking than 
wilfully following or delighting in those errors of set mind and 
purpose. It may be that divers of them living at home, with 
hard and pinching diet, small drink, and some of them having 
scarce enough of that, are soonest overtaken when they come 
into such banquets; howbeit they take it generally as no small 
disgrace if they happen to be cupshotten, so that it is a grief unto 
them, though now sans remedy, sith the thing is done and past. 
If the friends also of the wealthier sort come to their houses 
from far, they are commonly so welcome till they depart as 
upon the first day of their coming ; whereas in good towns and 
cities, as London, etc., men oftentimes complain of little room, 
and, in reward of a fat capon or plenty of beef and mutton 
bestowed upon them in the country, a cup of wine or beer with 
a napkin to wipe their lips and an " You are heartily welcome ! " 
is thought to be a great entertainment... 

Heretofore there hath been much more time spent in eating 
and drinking than commonly is in these days; for whereas of 
old we had breakfasts in the forenoon, beverages or nunchions 
after dinner, and thereto rear-suppers generally when it was 
time to go to rest... now these odd repasts, thanked be God, 
are very well left, and each one in manner (except here and 
there some young hungry stomach that cannot fast till dinner- 
time) contenteth himself with dinner and supper only 

With us the nobility, gentry and students do ordinarily go 
to dinner at eleven before noon, and to supper at five or between 
five and six at afternoon. The merchants dine and sup seldom 
before twelve at noon, and six at night, especially in London. 
The husbandmen dine also at high noon as they call it, and sup 
at seven or eight; but out of the term in our universities the 
scholars dine at ten. As for the poorest sort they generally dine 
and sup when they may, so that to talk of their order of repast 



it were but a needless matter. I might here take occasion also 
to set down the variety used by antiquity in their beginnings of 
their diets, wherein almost every nation had a several fashion, 
some beginning of custom (as we do in summer time) with 
salads at supper, and some ending with lettuce, some making 
their entry with eggs, and shutting up their tables with mul- 
berries, as we do with fruit and conceits of all sorts. Divers 
(as the old Romans) began with a few crops of rue, as the 
Venetians did with the fish called gobius, the Belgies with 
butter, or (as we do yet also) with butter and eggs upon fish days. 
But whereas we commonly begin with the most gross food, and 
end with the most delicate, the Scot, thinking much to leave 
the best for his menial servants, maketh his entrance at the best, 
so that he is sure thereby to leave the worst. We use also our 
wines by degrees, so that the hottest cometh last to the table : 
but to stand upon such toys would spend much time and turn 
to small profit. Wherefore I will deal with other things more 
necessary for this turn. 

William Harrison, Description of England 1587 (2nd ed.) 

J servant^ s duties at table 

When your master will go to his meat, take a towel about 
your neck, then take a cupboard cloth, a basin and an ewer, 
and a towel to array your cupboard, then cover your table, and 
set on salt, bread, and trenchers, the salt before the bread, and 
trenchers before the salt, and set your napkins and spoons on 
the cupboard ready, and lay every man a trencher, and napkin, 
and a spoon. And if ye have more messes than one at your 
master's table, consider what degree the persons are of, and 
thereafter you may serve them: and then set down everything 
at that mess as before, except your carving knives. If there be 
many gentlemen or yeomen, then set on bread, salt, trenchers, 
spoons, after they be set, or else after the custom of the house. 
And some do use to set before every man a loaf of bread and 
his cup, and some use the contrary. Thus must you have 
respect to the custom of your house. And in some places it 
is used to set drink and a loaf or two. Also you shall under- 
stand that in some places the carver doth use to show and set 
down, and goeth before the course, and beareth no dish, and 
in some places he beareth the first dish, and maketh obeisance 



to his master, and setteth it down covered before the degree 
of a knight, or else not used, and take off the covers and set 
them by. Also the carver hath authority to carve to all at his 
master's mess in special, and also unto other that sit joining by 
them if he list. Also see ye have voiders in a readiness for to 
avoid the morsels that they do leave on their trenchers. Then 
with your trencher knife take off such fragments, and put them 
in your voider, and set them clean again. And whether your 
sovereign move trenchers or bread, void them once or twice, 
specially when they^are wet, or give him clean, and as ye 
see men leave eating of the first and second dish, so avoid 
them from the table. And then if so be ye have any more 
courses than one or two, ye may make the more haste in 
voiding, and ever let one dish or two stand till the next course, 
and then take up all, and set down fresh and clean voiders 
withal, and let them not be too full before ye empty them, and 
then set clean again. And look what sauce is ordained for 
any meat, void the sauce thereof when ye take away the meat; 
and at the degree of a knight ye may set down your cup 
covered, and lift off the cover and set it on again, and when he 
listeth to drink and taketh off the cover, take the cover in thy 
hand and set it on again. And when he hath drunken, look the 
cup of wine or ale be not empty, but oft renewed. Also the 
carver shall break his dish before his master, or at a side cup- 
board, with clean knives, and see there be no lack of bread 
nor ale; and when men have well eaten, and do begin to wax 
weary of eating, or if ye perceive by the countenance of your 
master when ye shall take up the meat and void the table, 
begin at the lowest mess, take away your spoons, if there be any, 
howbeit ye may avoid them, after broths and bake meats are past. 
Then take away your voiders and then your dishes of meat, as 
they were set down, so take them up in order. And then set down 
cheese or fruits, and that ended, avoid your cheese or fruits, and 
cover your cup, ale or wine : first avoid the ale, and then the 
wine : then set on a broad voider and put therein the small pieces 
of bread, and small crumbs, with trenchers and napkins, and 
with your trencher knife or napkin make clean the table, then 
set away your bread whole, and also your voider, then take up 
the salt, and make obeisance: mark if your master use to 
wash at the table or standing : it he be at the table, cast a clean 



towel upon your tablecloth, and set down your basin and ewer 
before your sovereign, and take the ewer in your hand, and give 
them water. Then avoid your basin and ewer, and fold the 
board cloth together with your towel therein, and so take them 
off the board. And when your sovereign shall wash, set your 
towel on the left hand of him, and the water before you 
at dinner or supper; if it be to bedward, set up your basin 
and towel on the board again. And if your master will have 
any conceits after dinner, as apples, nuts or cream, then lay 
forth a towel on the board, and set thereon a loaf or two, see 
that ye have your trenchers and spoons *in a readiness if need 
require, then serve forth your master well, and so take it up 
again with a voider. 

Hugh Rhodes, The Booke of Nurture 1568 


Here I will mention a thing that might have been spoken of 
before, in discourse of the first Italian town. I observed a cus- 
tom in all those Italian cities and towns through the which I 
passed, that is not used in any other country that I saw in my 
travels, neither do I think that any other nation of Christendom 
doth use it, but only Italy. The Italians, and also most strangers 
that are commorant in Italy, do always at their meals use a little 
fork when they cut their meat. For while with their knife, 
which they hold in one hand, they cut the meat out of the dish, 
they fasten their fork which they hold in^ their other hand upon 
the same dish, so that whatsoever he be that, sitting in the 
company of any others at meal, should unadvisedly touch the 
dish of meat with his fingers from which all at the table do 
cut, he will give occasion of offence unto the company, as 
having transgressed the laws of good manners, in so much that 
for his error he shall be at the least brow-beaten if not repre- 
hended in words. This form of feeding I understand is 
generally used in all places of Italy, their forks being for 
the most part made of iron or steel, and some of silver, but 
those are used only by gentlemen. The reason of this their 
curiosity is, because the Italian cannot by any means endure to 
have his dish touched with fingers, seeing all men's fingers are 
not alike clean. Hereupon I myself thought good to imitate 
the Italian fashion by this forked cutting of meat, not only 



while I was in Italy, but also in Germany, and oftentimes in 
England since I came home: being once quipped for that 
frequent using of my fork by a certain learned gentleman, a 
familiar friend of mine, one M^ Laurence Whitaker, who in his 
merry humour doubted not to call me at table furcifer^ only for 
using a fork at feeding, but for no other cause. 

Thomas Coryat, Crudities 1611 


For time is like a fashionable host, 

That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand. 

And with his arms outstretch'd, as he would fly, 

Grasps in the comer : welcome ever smiles. 

And farewell goes out sighing. 

Troilus aiid Cressida, in. iii. 165 — 169 

This true noble hearted fellow is to be dignified and 
honoured, wheresoever he keeps house. It's thought that 
pride, puritans, coaches and covetousness hath caused him to 
leave our land. There are six upstart tricks come up in great 
houses of late which he cannot brook: peeping windows for the 
ladies to view what doings there are in the hall, a buttery hatch 
that's kept locked, clean tables and a French cook in the kitchen, 
a porter that locks the gates in dinner time, the decay of black- 
jacks in the cellar and blue-coats in the hall. He always kept 
his greatness by his charity: he loved three things, an open 
cellar, a full hall and a sweating cook: he always provided for 
three dinners, one for himself, another for his servants, the third 
for the poor. Any one may know where he kept house, either 
by the chimney's smoke, by the freedom at gate, by want 
of whirligig-jacks in the kitchen, by the fire in the hall or by 
the full furnished tables. He affects not London, Lent, lackeys 
or bailiffs. There are four sorts that pray for him, the poor, the 
passenger, his tenants, and servants. He is one that will not 
hoard up all nor lavishly spend all, he neither racks nor rakes 
his neighbours (they are sure of his company at church as well 
as at home),and gives his bounty as well to the preacher as to 
others whom he loves for his good life and doctrine. He had his 
wine came to him by full butts, but this age keeps her wine- 
cellar in little bottles. Lusty able men well maintained were 
his delight, with whom he would be familiar. His tenants knew 

w. p 225 


when they saw him, for he kept the old fashion, good, commend- 
able, plain. The poor about him wore upon their backs; but 
now since his death, landlords wear and waste their tenants 
upon their backs in French or Spanish fashions. Well, we can 
say that once such a charitable practitioner there was, but now 
he's dead, to the grief of all England : and 'tis shrewdly suspected 
that he will never rise again in our climate. 

Donald Lupton, London and the Countrey carbonadoed 1632 

The Kitchen 

Cafulet. Sirrah, go hire me twenty cunning cooks. 

Servant. You shall have none ill, sir ; for I '11 try if they can lick 
their fingers. 

Capulet. How canst thou try them so ? 

Servant. Marry, sir, 'tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers : 
therefore he that cannot lick his fingers goes not with me. 

Romeo and Juliet^ iv. ii. 2 — 8 

Marry, sir, she's the kitchen-wench, and all grease; and I know not 
what use to put her to but to make a lamp of her and run from her by 
her own Ught. I warrant her rags and the tallow in them will burn a 
Poland winter; if she lives till doomsday, she'll burn a week longer than 
the whole world. The Comedy of Errors, iii. ii. 97 — 103 

The Ideal Cook 

It resteth now that I proceed unto cookery itself, which is 
the dressing and ordering of meat in good and wholesome 
manner; to which, when our housewife shall address herself, 
she shall well understand, that these qualities must ever accom- 
pany it: first, she must be cleanly both in body and garments, 
she must have a quick eye, a curious nose, a perfect taste and a 
ready ear. She must not be butter-fingered, sweet-toothed nor 
faint-hearted; for the first will let everything fall, the second 
will consume what it should increase, and the last will lose time 
with too much niceness. 

Gervase Markham, The English Hus-tuife 1615 

J Cook 

The kitchen is his hell, and he the devil in it, where his 
meat and he fry together. His revenues are showered down 
from the fat of the land, and he interlards his own grease among 



to help the drippings. Choleric he is, not by nature so much 
as his art, and it is a shrewd temptation that the chopping knife 
is so near. His weapons ofter offensive are a mess of hot broth 
and scalding water, and woe be to him that comes in his way. 
In the kitchen he will domineer and rule the roast, in spite of 
his master, and curses is the very dialect of his calling. His 
labour is mere blustering and fury, and his speech like that of 
sailors in a storm, a thousand businesses at once; yet in all this 
tumult he does not love combustion, but will be the first man 
that shall go and quench it. He is never good Christian till a 
hissing pot of ale has slaked him, like water cast on a firebrand, 
and for that time he is tame and dispossessed. His cunning is 
not small in architecture, for he builds strange fabrics in paste, 
towers and castles, which are offered to the assault of valiant 
teeth, and like Darius his palace, in one banquet demolished. 
He is a pitiless murderer of innocents, and he mangles poor 
fowls with unheard of tortures, and it is thought the martyrs' 
persecutions were devised from hence; sure we are Saint 
Lawrence his gridiron came out of his kitchen. His best 
faculty is at the dresser, where he seems to have great skill 
in the tactics, ranging his dishes in order military and placing 
with great discretion in the fore-front meats more strong and 
hardy, and the more cold and cowardly in the rear, as quaking 
tarts, and quivering custards, and such milk-sop dishes which 
scape many times the fury of the encounter. But now the 
second course is gone up, and he down into the cellar, where he 
drinks and sleeps till four o'clock in the afternoon, and then 
returns again to his regiment. 

John Earle, Micro-cosmogi-aphie 1628 

An Elizabethan mince-pie 

Take a leg of mutton, and cut the best of the best flesh from 

the bone, and parboil it well : then put to it three pound of 
the best mutton suet, and shred it very small : then spread it 
abroad, and season it with pepper and salt, cloves and m^ace: 
then put in good store of currants, great raisins and prunes, 
clean washed and picked, a few dates sliced, and some orange-pills 
sliced : then being all well mixed together, put it into a coffin, or 
into divers coffins, and so bake them ; and when they are served 

P2 227 


up, open the lids, and strew store of sugar on the top of the meat, 
and upon the Hd. And in this sort you may also bake beef or 
veal ; only the beef would not be parboiled, and the veal will 
ask a double quantity of suet. 

Gervase Markham, The English Hus-ivife 1623 (2nd ed.) 

The Ddtr^ 

Your cream being neatly and sweet kept, you shall churm 
or churn it on those usual days which are fittest either for your 
use in the house or the markets adjoining near unto you, 
according to the purpose for which you keep your dairy. Now 
the days most accustomably held amongst ordinary housewives, 
are Tuesday and Friday: Tuesday in the afternoon, to serve 
Wednesday morning market, and Friday morning to serve 
Saturday market; for Wednesday and Saturday are the most 
general market days of this kingdom, and Wednesday, Friday, 
and Saturday, the usual fasting days of the week and so 
meetest for the use of butter. Now for churming, take your 
cream and through a strong and clean cloth strain it into 
the churn ; and then covering the churn close, and setting it 
in a place fit for the action in which you are employed (as in 
the summer in the coolest place of your dairy), and exceeding 
early in the morning or very late in the evening, and in the 
winter in the warmest place of your dairy, and in the most tem- 
perate hours, as about noon or a little before or after, and so 
churn it, with swift strokes, marking the noise of the same 
which will be solid, heavy and entire, until you hear it alter, and 
the sound is light, sharp and more spirity : and then you shall 
say that your butter breaks, which perceived both by this sound, 
the lightness of the churn-stafF, and the sparks and drops which 
will appear yellow about the lip of the churn, and cleanse with 
your hand both the lid and inward sides of the churn, and 
having put all together you shall cover the churn again, and 
then with easy strokes round, and not to the bottom, gather the 
butter together into one entire lump and body, leaving no pieces 
thereof several or unjoined. 

Gervase Markham, The English Hus-nvife 16 15 



§ 4. Sleep and Health 

The Bedroom 

The innocent sleep, 
Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care, 
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath. 
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, 
Chief nourisher in life's feast. Macbeth, li. ii. 37 — 41 

The Valet's Duties 
When your master intendeth to bedward, see that ye have 
fire and candle sufficient and see ye have clean water in at 
night and in the morning: and if your master lie in fresh 
sheets, dry off the dankness by the fire. If he lie in a strange 
place, see his sheets be clean and sweet, and then fold down 
his bed, and warm his night kerchief, and see his house ot 
office be clean, help off his clothing, and draw the curtains, and 
make sure the fire and candle, and avoid the dogs, and shut all 
the doors. And in the evening or in the morning, your master 
being alone, if ye have anything to say to him, then is good 
leisure and time to know his pleasure. In the morning if it be 
cold, make a fire, and have in clean water, bring him his petticoat 
warm, with his doublet, and all his apparel clean brushed, and 
his shoes made clean, and help to array him, truss his points, 
strike up his hosen clean, and set all thing clean and cleanly 
about him ; give him good attendance, and in especial among 
strangers, for attendance doth please masters very well. Thus 
doing with diligence, God will prefer you to honour and good 

Hugh Rhodes, The Booke of Nurture 1568 

The Care of the Bod:^ (a physician s advice) 
To bedward be you merry or have merry company about 
you, so that to bedward no anger nor heaviness, sorrow nor 
pensivefulness, do trouble or disquiet you. To bedward and also 
in the morning, use to have a fire in your chamber, to waste 
and consume the evil vapours within the chamber, for the 
breath of man may putrify the air within the chamber : I do 
advertise you not to stand nor to sit by the fire, but stand or 
sit a good way off from the fire, taking the flavour of it, for fire 
doth arify and doth dry up a man's blood, and doth make stark 
the sinews and joints of man. In the night let the windows of 



your house, specially of your chamber, be closed. When you 
be in your bed, lie a little while on your left side, and sleep on 
your right side.... 

Let your nightcap be of scarlet, and this, I do advertise you, 
to cause to be made a good thick quilt of cotton, or else of pure 
flocks or of clean wool, and let the covering of it be of white 
fustian, and lay it on the featherbed that you do lie on ; and in 
your bed lie not too hot nor too cold, but in a temperance. 
Old ancient doctors of physic saith eight hours of sleep in 
summer and nine in winter is sufficient for any man ; but I 
do think the sleep ought to be taken as the complexion of man 
is. When you do rise in the morning, rise with mirth and 
remember God. Let your hosen be brushed within and 
without, and flavour the inside of them against the fire ; use 
linen socks, or linen hosen next your legs : when you be out 
of your bed, stretch forth your legs and arms and your body, 
cough and spit.... 

After you have evacuated your body and trussed your 
points, comb your head oft, and so do divers times in the day. 
And wash your hands and wrists, your face and eyes and your 
teeth, with cold water ; and after that you be apparelled, walk 
in your garden or park, a thousand pace or two. And then 
great and noble men do use to hear mass, and other men that 
cannot do so, but must apply their business, doth serve God 
with some prayers, surrendering thanks to him for his manifold 
goodness, with asking mercy for their offences. And before you 
go to your refection, moderately exercise your body with some 
labour, or playing at the tennis, or casting a bowl, or poising 
weights or plummets of lead in your hands, or some other thing, 
to open your pores, and to augment natural heat; At dinner 
and supper use not to drink sundry drinks, and eat not of divers 
meats : but feed of two or three dishes at the most. After that 
you have dined and supped, labour not by-and-by after, but 
make a pause, sitting or standing upright the space of an hour 
or more with some pastime : drink not much after dinner. At 
your supper, use light meats of digestion, and refrain from gross 
meats ; go not to bed with a full nor an empty stomach. And 
after your supper make a pause ere you go to bed ; and go to 
bed, as I said, with mirth. 

Andrew Boordk, A Qompendyous Kegyment or a Dietary ofhelth 1541 



The Physician 

Macbeth. Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas'd. 
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, 
Raze out the written troubles of the brain, 
And with some sweet oblivious antidote 
Cleanse the stuff 'd bosom of that perilous stuff 
Which weighs upon the heart ? 

Doctor Therein the patient 

Priust minister to himself. 

Macbeth. Throw physic to the dogs ; I '11 none of it. 
...If thou couldst, doctor, cast 
The water of my land, find her disease. 
And purge it to a sound and pristine health, 
I would applaud thee to the very echo, 
That should applaud again.... 
What rhubarb, senna, or what purgative drug 
Would scour these English hence .> 

Macbeth^ v. iii. 40 — 55 

[In 1607 Shakespeare's eldest daughter Susanna married the physician, 
John Hall.] 

A worthy physician is the enemy of sickness, in purging 
nature from corruption. His action is most in feeling of 
pulses, and his discourses chiefly of the nature of diseases. He 
is a great searcher out of simples, and accordingly makes his 
composition. He persuades abstinence and patience, for the 
benefit of health, while purging and bleeding are the chief 
courses of his counsel. The apothecary and the chirurgeon are 
his two chief attendants, with whom conferring upon time, 
[he] grows temperate in his cures. Surfeits and wantonness are 
great agents for his employment, when by the secret of his skill 
out of others' weakness he gathers his own strength. In sum, 
he is a necessary member for an unnecessary malady, to find a 
disease and to cure the diseased. 

An unlearned and so unworthy physician is a kind of 
horseleech, whose cure is most in drawing of blood, and a 
desperate purge, either to cure or kill, as it hits. His discourse 
is most of the cures that he hath done, and them afar off; and 
not a receipt under a hundred pounds, though it be not worth 
three halfpence. Upon the market-day he is much haunted 



with urinals, where if he find anything (though he know 
nothing), yet he will say somewhat, which if it hit to some 
purpose with a few fustian words, he will seem a piece of 
strange stuff. He is never without old merry tales and stale 
jests to make old folks laugh, and comfits or plums in his 
pocket to please little children ; yea, and he will be talking of 
complexions, though he know nothing of their dispositions ; 
and if his medicine do a feat, he is a made man among fools ; 
but being wholly unlearned, and ofttimes unhonest, let me thus 
briefly describe him : he is a plain kind of mountebank and a 
true quacksalver, a danger for the sick to deal withal, and a 
dizard in the world to talk withal. 

Nicholas Breton, The Good and the Badde 1616 


It is therefore Death alone that can suddenly make man to 
know himself. He tells the proud and insolent that they are 
but abjects and humbles them at the instant; makes them 
cry, complain and repent, yea, even to hate their forepassed 
happiness. He takes the account of the rich and proves him 
a beggar, a naked beggar, which hath interest in nothing but 
in the gravel that fills his mouth. He holds a glass before 
the eyes of the most beautiful and makes them see therein 
their deformity and rottenness, and they acknowledge it. 
Oh eloquent, just and mighty Death! whom none could 
advise thou hast persuaded, what none hath dared thou hast 
done, and whom all the world hath flattered thou only hast 
cast out of the world and despised. Thou hast drawn together 
all the far-stretched greatness, all the pride, cruelty and ambition 
of man, and covered it all over with those two narrow words, 
Hie jacet. 

Sir Walter Ralegh, The Historie of the World 1614 




There are cozeners abroad ; therefore it behoves men to be wary. 

The Winter's Tale, iv. iii. 256 

My traffic is sheets j when the kite builds, look to lesser linen. My 
father named me Autolycus ; who beings, as I am, littered under Mercury, 
was likewise a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. With die and drab 
I purchased this caparison, and my revenue is the silly cheat. Gallows 
and knock are too powerful in the highway : beating and hanging are 
terrors to me : for the life to come, I sleep out the thought of it. 

Ibid. IV. ii. 23 — 31 

To have an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand, is necessary for 
a cut-purse : a good nose is requisite also, to smeU out work for the other 
senses. I see this is the time that the unjust man doth thrive.... Every 
lane's end, every shop, church, session, hanging, yields a careful man work. 

Ihid, IV. iii. 686 — 704 

Rogues and the tarn) 

[The law referred to below is the famous statute of 1572. It will be 
noticed that it includes players among other classes of vagrants, and the 
passage was constantly quoted with glee by puritan opponents of the 
theatre. But the law was directed against wandering actors not attached 
to a nobleman's company such as that of the Lord Chamberlain, to 
which Shakespeare belonged.] 

With us the poor is commonly divided into three sorts, so 
that some are poor by impotency, as the fatherless child, the 
aged, blind and lame, and the diseased person that is judged to 
be incurable : the second are poor by casualty, as the wounded 
soldier, the decayed householder, and the sick person visited 
with grievous and painful diseases: the third consisteth of 
thriftless poor, as the rioter that hath consumed all, the 



vagabond that will abide nowhere but runneth up and down 
from place to place, and finally the rogue and the strumpet.... 
Such as are idle beggars through their own default are of 
two sorts, and continue their estates either by casual or mere 
voluntary means. Those that are such by casual means are in 
the beginning justly to be referred either to the first or second 
sort of poor aforementioned, but, degenerating into the thriftless 
sort, they do what they can to continue their misery, and, with 
such impediments as they have, to stray and wander about, as 
creatures abhorring all labour and every honest exercise. Certes 
I call these casual means, not in the respect of the original of 
their poverty, but of the continuance of the same, from whence 
they will not be delivered, such is their own ungracious lewdness 
and froward disposition. The voluntary means proceed from 
outward causes, as by making of corrosives and applying the 
same to the more fleshy parts of their bodies, and also laying of 
ratsbane, spearwort, crowfoot and such like unto their whole 
members, thereby to raise pitiful and odious sores and move 
the hearts of the goers by such places where they lie, to yearn 
at their misery, and thereupon bestow large alms upon them. 
How artificially they beg, what forcible speech, and how they 
select and choose out words of vehemency, whereby they do in 
manner conjure or adjure the goer-by to pity their cases, I pass 
over to remember, as judging the name of God and Christ to 
be more conversant in the mouths of none and yet the presence 
of the heavenly Majesty further off from no men than from 
this ungracious company. Which maketh me to think that 
punishment is far meeter for them than liberality or alms, and 
sith Christ willeth us chiefly to have a regard to himself and his 
poor members. 

Unto this nest is another sort to be referred, more sturdy 
than the rest, which, having sound and perfect limbs, do yet 
notwithstanding sometime counterfeit the possession of all sorts 
of diseases. Divers times in their apparel also they will be like 
serving-men or labourers : oftentimes they can play the 
mariners and seek for ships which they never lost. But in 
fine they are all thieves and caterpillars in the commonwealth, 
and by the word of God not permitted to eat, sith they do but 
lick the sweat from the true labourer's brows, and bereave the 
godly poor of that which is due unto them, to maintain their 



excess, consuming the charity of well-disposed people bestowed 
upon them, after a most wicked and detestable manner. 

It is not yet full threescore years since this trade began : 
but how it hath prospered since that time it is easy to judge, 
for they are now supposed, of one sex and another, to amount 
unto above 1 0,000 persons, as I have heard reported. More- 
over, in counterfeiting the Egyptian rogues, they have devised 
a language among themselves, which they name " canting," 
but others "pedlar's French," a speech compact thirty years 
since of English and a great number of odd words of their own 
devising, without all order or reason, and yet such is it as none 
but themselves are able to understand. The first deviser thereof 
was hanged by the neck — a just reward, no doubt, for his 
deserts, and a common end to all of that profession. 

A gentleman [Thomas Harman] also of late hath taken 
great pains to search out the secret practices of this ungracious 
rabble. And among other things he setteth down and de- 
scribeth three and twenty sorts of them whose names it shall 
not be amiss to remember whereby each one may take occasion 
to read and know as also by his industry what wicked people 
they are, and what villainy remaineth in them. 

The several disorders and degrees amongst our idle 
vagabonds *. 






Hookers or anglers. 




Wild rogues. 


Triggers of prancers. 








Freshwater mariners or 




Drunken tinkers. 


Swadders or pedlars. 


Jarkmen or patricoes. 

Of the 




Demanders for glimmer or fire 

2. Bawdy-baskets. 



4. Autem morts. 


Walking morts. 

6. Doxies. 



8. Kinching morts. 

9. Kinching coes. 
See glossary under "Rogues." 


The punishment that is ordained for this kind of people is very 
sharp, and yet it cannot restrain them from their gadding : 
wherefore the end must needs be martial law, to be exercised 
upon them, as upon thieves, robbers, despisers of all laws, and 
enemies to the commonwealth and welfare of the land. What 
notable robberies, pilferies, murders, rapes and stealings of 
young children, burning, breaking and disfiguring their limbs 
to make them pitiful in the sight of the people, I need not to 
rehearse. But for their idle roguing about the country the law 
ordairieth this manner of correction. The rogue being ap- 
prehended, committed to prison, and tried in the next assizes 
(whether they be of gaol delivery or sessions of the peace), if he 
happen to be convicted for a vagabond, either by inquest of 
office or the testimony of two honest and credible witnesses upon 
their oaths, he is then immediately adjudged to be grievously 
whipped and burned through the gristle of the right ear with an 
hot iron of the compass of an inch about, as a manifestation of 
his wicked life, and due punishment received for the same. 
And this judgment is to be executed upon him except some 
honest person worth five pounds in the Queen's books in goods, 
or twenty shillings in land, or some rich householder to be 
allowed by the justices, will be bound in recognisance to retain 
him in his service for one whole year. If he be taken the 
second time, and proved to have forsaken his said service, he 
shall then be whipped again, bored likewise through the other 
ear, and set to service : from whence if he depart before a year 
be expired and happen afterward to be attached again, he is 
condemned to suffer pains of death as a felon (except before 
excepted) without benefit of clergy or sanctuary, as by the 
statute doth appear. Among rogues and idle persons, finally, 
we find to be comprised all proctors that go up and down with 
counterfeit licences, cozeners and such as gad about the 
country using unlawful games, practisers of physiognomy and 
palmistry, tellers of fortune, fencers, players, minstrels, jugglers, 
pedlars, tinkers, pretended scholars, shipmen, prisoners gathering 
for fees, and others, so oft as they be taken without sufficient 
licence. From among which company our bearwards are not 
excepted, and just cause : for I have read that they have, either 
voluntarily or for want of power to master their savage beasts, 
been occasion of the death and devouration of many children in 



sundry countries by which they have passed, whose parents 
never knew what was become of them. And for that cause 
there is and have been many sharp laws made for bearwards in 
Germany, whereof you may read in other. But to our rogues. 
Each one also that harboureth or aideth them with meat or 
money is taxed and compelled to fine with the queen's majesty 
for ewGry time that he doth succour them as it shall please the 
justices of peace to assign, so that the taxation exceed not 
twenty shillings, as I have been informed. 

William Harrison, T^e Description of England 1587 (2nd cd.) 

A Courtesy Man 

A courtesy man is one that walketh about the back lanes 
in London in the day time, and sometime in the broad streets 
in the night season, and when he meeteth some handsome 
young man cleanly apparelled or some other honest citizen, he 
maketh humble salutations and low courtesy, and sheweth him 
that he hath a word or two to speak with his mastership. This 
child can behave himself mannerly, for he will desire him that 
he talketh withal to take the upper hand, and shew him much 
reverence, and at last like his familiar acquaintance will put on 
his cap, and walk side by side and talk on this fashion : " Oh 
sir, you seem to be a man and one that favoureth men, and 
therefore I am the more bolder to break my mind unto your 
good mastership. Thus it is sir, there is a certain of us (though 
I say it, both tall and handsome men of their hands) which 
have come lately from the wars, and as God knoweth have 
nothing to take to, being both masterless and moneyless, and 
knowing no way whereby to earn one penny. And further, 
whereas we have been wealthily brought up and we also have 
been had in good estimation, we are ashamed now to declare 
our misery and to fall a-craving as common beggars, and as for 
to steal and rob (God is our record) it striketh us to the heart 
to think of such a mischief, that ever any handsome man should 
fall into such a danger for this worldly trash. Which if we 
had to suffice our want and necessity, we should never seek 
thus shamefastly to crave on such good pitiful men as you seem 
to be, neither yet so dangerously to hazard our lives for so 
vile a thing. Therefore good sir, as you seem to be a handsome 



man yourself, and also such a one as pitieth the miserable 
case of handsome men, as now your eyes and countenance 
sheweth to have some pity upon this my miserable complaint, 
so in God's cause I require your mastership, and in the behalf 
of my poor afflicted fellows, which though here in sight they 
cry not with me to you, yet wheresoever they be, I am sure 
they cry unto God to move the hearts of some good men to 
shew forth their liberality in this behalf; all which, and I with 
them, crave now the same request at your good mastership's 
hand." With these or such like words he frameth his talk. 
Now if the party {which he thus talketh withal) profereth him 
a penny or twopence he taketh it, but very scornfully, and at last 
speaketh on this sort : " Well sir, your good will is not to be 
refused. But yet you shall understand, good sir, that this is 
nothing for them, for whom I do thus shamefastly entreat. 
Alas sir, it is not a groat or twelvepence I speak for, being such 
a company of servitors as we have been : yet nevertheless God 
forbid I should not receive your gentle offer at this time, 
hoping hereafter through your good motions to some such like 
good gentleman as you be, that I or some of my fellows in my 
place, shall find the more liberality." These kind of idle 
vagabonds will go commonly well-apparelled, without any 
weapon, and in place where they meet together, as at their 
hostelries or other places, they will bear the port of right good 
gentlemen, and some are the more trusted, but commonly they 
pay them with stealing a pair of sheets or coverlet, and so take 
their farewell early in the morning, before the master or dame 
be stirring. 

John Awdeley, The Fraternity e of Vacahondei 1575 (ist ed. 156 1) 

Abraham Men 

Edgar. My face I'll grime with filth, 

Blanket my loins, elf all my hair in knots, 
And with presented nakedness out-face 
The winds and persecutions of the sky. 
The country gives me proof and precedent 
Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices, 
Strike in their numb'd and mortified bare arms 
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary ; 



And with this horrible object, from low farms, 
Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes, and mills. 
Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers, 
Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygood ! poor Tom I 

King LeaVy il. iii. 9 — 20 

These Abraham men be those that feign themselves to 
have been mad and have been kept either in Bethlehem or 
in some other prison a good time, and not amongst twenty 
that ever came in prison for any such cause: yet w'\\\ they 
say howr piteously and most extremely they have been beaten 
and dealt withal. Some of these be merry and very pleasant, 
they will dance and sing; some others be as cold and reasonable 
to talk withal. These beg money, either when they come at 
farmer's houses they will demand bacon either cheese or wool 
or anything that is worth money. And if they espy small 
company within, they will with fierce countenance demand 
somewhat, where for fear the maids will give them largely 
to be rid of them. 

Rufflers on Shooter's Hill 

[The story below, it has been observed, is quite in the manner of 
Falstaff's escapades.] 

The ruffler, because he is first in degree of this odious 
order, and is so called in a statute made for the punishment of 
vagabonds in the xxvii. year of King Henry VIII, late of most 
famous memory, he shall be first placed, as the worthiest of this 
unruly rabblement. And he is so called when he goeth first 
abroad ; either he hath served in the wars, or else he hath been 
a serving-man, and, weary of well doing, shaking off all pain, 
doth choose him this idle life, and wretchedly wanders about 
the most shires of this realm. And with stout audacity he 
demandeth where he thinketh he may be bold, and circumspect 
enough, as he seeth cause to ask charity, ruefully and lament- 
ably, that it would make a flinty heart to relent and pity his 
miserable estate, how he hath been maimed and bruised in the 
wars ; and, peradventure, some will shew you some outward 
wound which he got at some drunken fray, either halting of 
some privy wound festered with a filthy fiery flankard. For be 
well assured that the hardiest soldiers be either slain or maimed, 



either and* they escape all hazards and return home again, 
if they be without relief of their friends, they will surely 
desperately rob and steal, and either shortly be hanged or 
miserably die in prison ; for they be so much ashamed and 
disdain to beg or ask charity, that rather they will as desperately 
fight for to live and maintain themselves, as manfully and 
valiantly they ventured themselves in the prince's quarrel. 
Now these rufflers, the outcasts of serving-men, when begging 
or craving fails, then they pick and pilfer from other inferior 
beggars that they meet by the way, as rogues, palliards, morts 
and doxies. Yea, if they meet with a woman alone riding to 
the market either old man or boy that he well knoweth will 
not resist, such they filch and spoil. These rufflers, after a 
year or two at the farthest, become uprightmen, unless they 
be prevented by twined hemp. 

I had of late years an old man to my tenant, who custom- 
ably a great time went twice in the week to London, either 
with fruit or with peascods, when time served therefore. And 
as he was coming homewards on Blackheath, at the end thereof 
next to Shooter's Hill, he overtook two rufflers, the one 
mannerly waiting on the other, as one had been the master, 
and the other the man or servant carrying his master's cloak. 
This old man was very glad that he might have their company 
over the hill, because that day he had made a good market ; 
for he had seven shillings in his purse, and an old angel, which 
this poor man had thought had not been in his purse, for he 
willed his wife over night to take out the same angel and lay 
it up until his coming home again. And he verily thought 
that his wife had so done, which indeed forgot to do it. Thus 
after salutations had, this master ruffler entered into communi- 
cation with this simple old man, who, riding softly beside them, 
communed of many matters. Thus feeding this old man with 
pleasant talk, until they were on the top of the hill, where these 
rufflers might well behold the coast about them clear, quickly 
steps unto this poor man, and taketh hold of his horse bridle, 
and leadeth him into the wood, and demandeth of him what 
and how much money he had in his purse. "Now, by my 
troth," quoth this old man ; " you are a merry gentleman. I 
know you mean not to take away anything from me, but rather 

♦ or ii: 


to give me some if I should ask it of you." By and by, this 
servant thief casteth the cloak that he carried on his arm about 
this poor man's face, that he should not mark or view them, 
with sharp words to deliver quickly that he had, and to confess 
truly what was in his purse. This poor man, then all abashed, 
yielded and confessed that he had but just seven shillings in his 
purse ; and the truth is he knew of no more. This old angel 
w^as fallen out of a little purse into the bottom of a great purse. 
Now, this seven shillings in white money they quickly found, 
thinking indeed that there had been no more ; yet farther 
groping and searching found this old angel. And with great 
admiration, this gentleman thief began to bless him, saying, 
" Good Lord, what a world is this 1 how may," quoth he, 
"a man believe or trust in the same ? See you not," quoth he, 
" this old knave told me that he had but seven shillings, and 
here is more by an angel : what an old knave and a false knave 
have we here !" quoth this ruffler, "Our Lord have mercy on 
us, will this world never be better ? " — and therewith went 
their way, and left the old man in the wood, doing him no 
more harm. But sorrowfully sighing, this old man, returning 
home, declared his misadventure, with all the words and 
circumstances above shewed. Whereat for the time was great 
laughing, and this poor man for his losses among his loving 
neighbours well considered in the end. 

A Hooker or Angler 

These hookers, or anglers, be perilous and most wicked 
knaves, and be derived or proceed forth from the upright- 
men. They commonly go in frieze jerkins and gally-slops, 
pointed beneath the knee. These when they practise their 
pilfering, it is all by night ; for, as they walk a-day-times from 
house to house, to demand charity, they vigilantly mark where 
or in what place they may attain to their prey, casting their 
eyes up to every window, well noting what they see there, 
whether apparel or linen, hanging near unto the said windows, 
and that will they be sure to have the next night following. 
For they customably carry with them a staff of five or six foot 
long, in which, within one inch of the top thereof, is a little 
hole bored through, in which hole they put an iron hook, and 
with the same they will pluck unto them quickly anything 

W. Q 241 


that they may reach therewith, which hook in the daytime they 
covertly carry about them, and is never seen or taken out till 
they come to the place where they work their feat. Such have 
I seen at my house, and have oft talked with them and have 
handled their staves, not then understanding to what use or 
intent they served, although I had and perceived, by their talk 
and behaviour, great likelihood of evil suspicion in them. They 
will either lean upon their staff, to hide the hole thereof, when 
they talk with you, or hold their hand upon the hole ; and 
what stuff, either woollen or linen, they thus hook out, they 
never carry the same forthwith to their stauling-kens, but hide 
the same a three days in some secret corner, and after convey 
the same to their houses abovesaid, where their host or hostess 
giveth them money for the same, but half the value that it is 
worth, or else their doxies shall afar off sell the same at the 
like houses. I was credibly informed that a hooker came to a 
farmer's house in the dead of the night, and putting back a 
draw-window of a low chamber, the bed standing hard by 
the said window, in which lay three persons (a man and two 
big boys), this hooker with his staff plucked off their garments 
which lay upon them to keep them warm, with the coverlet 
and sheet, and left them lying asleep naked saving their shirts, 
and had away all clean, and never could understand where it 
became. I verily suppose that when they were well waked 
with cold, they surely thought that Robin Goodfellow (ac- 
cording to the old saying) had been with them that night. 

Tm)o Rogues and a. Parson 
There was not long since two rogues that always did 
associate themselves together, and would never separate them- 
selves, unless it were for some especial causes, for they were 
sworn brothers, and were both of one age, and much like of 
favour. These two, travelling into east Kent, resorted unto 
an alehouse there, being wearied with travelling, saluting with 
short courtesy, when they came into the house, such as they 
saw sitting there, in which company was the parson of the 
parish, and calling for a pot of the best ale, sat down at the 
table's end. The liquor liked them so well, that they had pot 
upon pot, and sometime, for a little good manner, would drink 
and offer the cup to such as they best fancied j and to be short, 



they sat out all the company, for each man departed home 
about their business. When they had well refreshed them- 
selves, then these rousy rogues requested the good man of the 
house with his wife to sit down and drink with them, of whom 
they enquired what priest the same was and where he dwelt. 
Then they feigning that they had an uncle a priest, and that 
he should dwell in these parts, which by all presumptions it 
should be he, and that they came of purpose to speak with 
him, but because they had not seen him since they were six 
years old, they durst not be bold to take acquaintance of him 
until they were farther instructed of the truth, and began to 
enquire of his name, and how long he had dwelt there, and 
how far his house was off from the place they were in. The 
good wife of the house, thinking them honest men without deceit, 
because [what] they so far enquired of their kinsman was but 
of a good zealous natural intent, shewed them cheerfully that 
he was an honest man and well-beloved in the parish, and of 
good wealth, and had been there resident fifteen years at the 
least. "But," saith she, "are you both brothers?" "Yea, 
surely," said they, " we have been both in one belly, and were 
twins." " Mercy, God ! " quoth this foolish woman ; " it may 
well be, for ye be not much unlike," — and went unto her hall 
window, calling these young men unto her, and looking out 
thereat, pointed with her finger and shewed them the house 
standing alone, no house near the same by almost a quarter of a 
mile. " That," said she, " is your uncle's house." " Nay," 
saith one of them, "he is not only my uncle, but also my 
godfather." "It may well be," quoth she, "nature will bind 
him to be the better unto you." " Well," quoth they, " we be 
weary, and mean not to trouble our uncle to-night ; but to- 
morrow, God willing, we will see him and do our duty : but, 
I pray you, doth our uncle occupy husbandry ? what company- 
hath he in his house?" "Alas!" saith she, "but one old 
woman and a boy, he hath no occupying at all. Tush ! " 
quoth this good wife, " you be madmen ; go to him this night, 
for he hath better lodging for you than I have, and yet I speak 
foolishly against my own profit, for by your tarrying here I 
should gain the more by you." " Now, by my troth," quoth 
one of them, " we thank you, good hostess, for your wholesome 
counsel, and we mean to do as you will us : we will pause 

Q2 243 


awhile, and by that time it will be almost night ; and I pray 
you give us a reckoning." 

So, mannerly paying for that they took, bade their host 
and hostess farewell with taking leave of the cup, marched 
merely out of the doors towards this parson's house, viewed 
the same well round about, and passed by two bowshots off 
into a young wood, where they lay consulting what they 
should do until midnight. Quoth one of them, of sharper 
wit and subtler than the other, to his fellow, "Thou seest 
that this house is stone- walled about, and that we cannot 
well break in, in any part thereof; thou seest also that the 
windows be thick of mullions, that there is no creeping in 
between : wherefore we must of necessity use some policy 
when strength will not serve. I have a horse-lock here about 
me," saith he; "and this I hope shall serve our turn." So 
when it was about twelve of the clock, they came to the house 
and lurked near unto his chamber window. The dog of the house 
barked a good [deal], that with the noise, this priest waketh out 
of his sleep, and began to cough and hem : then one of these 
rogues steps forth nearer the window and maketh a rueful and 
pitiful noise, requiring for Christ sake some relief, that was both 
hungry and thirsty and was like to lie without the doors all 
night and starve for cold, unless he were relieved by him with 
some small piece of money. " Where dwellest thou ? " quoth 
this parson. " Alas 1 sir," saith this rogue, " I have small 
dwelling, and have come out of my way ; and should I now," 
saith he, "go to any town now at this time of night, they 
would set me in the stocks and punish me." " Well," quoth, 
this pitiful parson, "away from my house either lie in some of 
my outhouses until the morning, and hold, here is a couple of 
pence for thee." " Ah God reward you," quoth this rogue ; 
"and in heaven may you find it." The parson openeth his 
window, and thrusteth out his arm to give his alms to this 
rogue that came whining to receive it, and quickly taketh hold 
of his hand, and calleth his fellow to him, which was ready at 
hand with the horse-lock, and clappeth the same about the 
wrist of his arm, that the mullions standing so close together 
for strength, that for his life he could not pluck in his arm 
again, and made him believe, unless he would at the least give 
them £2i ^^7 would smite off" his arm from the body. So 



that poor parson, in fear to lose his hand, called up his old 
woman that lay in the loft over him, and willed her to take out 
all the money he had, which was four marks, which he said 
was all the money in his house, for he had lent ^6 to one of 
his neighbours not four days before. "Well," quoth they, 
" master parson, if you have no more, upon this condition we 
will take off the lock, that you will drink twelve pence for our 
sakes to-morrow at the alehouse where we found you, and 
thank the good wife for the cheer she made us." He promised 
faithfully that he would do so ; so they took off the lock, and 
went their way so far ere it was day, that the parson could 
never have any understanding more of them. 

Now this parson, sorrowfully slumbering that night between 
fear and hope, thought it was but folly to make two sorrows of 
one. He used contentation for his remedy, not forgetting in the 
morning to perform his promise, but went betimes to his neigh- 
bour that kept tippling, and asked angerly where the same two 
men were that drank with her yesterday. "Which two men?" 
quoth this good wife. "The strangers that came in when I was 
at your house with my neighbours yesterday." " What ! your 
nephews ? " quoth she. " My nephews ? " quoth this parson ; 
" I trow thou art mad." " Nay, by God ! " quoth this good 
wife, "as sober as you ; for they told me faithfully that you 
were their uncle : but, in faith, are you not so indeed ? for, by 
my troth, they are strangers to me. I never saw them before." 
" O, out upon them ! " quoth the parson ; " they be false 
thieves, and this night they compelled me to give them all the 
money in my house." " Benedicite ! " quoth this good wife, 
" and have they so indeed ? as I shall answer before God, one 
of them told me besides that you were godfather to him, and 
that he trusted to have your blessing before he departed." 
" What ! did he ? " quoth this parson ; " a halter bless him for 
me ! " " Me thinketh, by the mass, by your countenance you 
looked so wildly when you came in," quoth this good wife, 
"that something was amiss." "I use not to jest," quoth this 
parson, " when 1 speak so earnestly." " Why, all your sorrows 
go with it," quoth this good wife, " and sit down here, and I 
will fill a fresh pot of ale shall make you merry again." "Yea," 
saith this parson, " fill in and give me some meat ; for they 
made me swear and promise them faithfully that I should drink 



twelve pence with you this day." " What ! did they ?" quoth 
she ; " now, by the Mary mass, they be merry knaves. I 
warrant you they mean to buy no land with your money ; but 
how could they come into you in the night, your doors being 
shut fast ? your house is very strong." Then this parson 
shewed her all the whole circumstance, how he gave them his 
alms out at the window, they made such lamentable cry that it 
pitied him at the heart ; for he saw but one when he put out 
his hand at the window. " Be ruled by me," quoth this good 
wife. " Wherein ? " quoth this parson. '' By my troth, never 
speak more of it : when they shall understand of it in the 
parish, they will but laugh you to scorn." "Why, then," 
quoth this parson, " the devil go with it," — and there an end. 

A Counterfeit Crank (and a printer in pursuit of cop^) 

Upon All-hallows-day in the morning last anno domini 
1566, ere my book was half printed, I mean the first impression, 
there came early in the morning a counterfeit crank under my 
lodging at the White Friars, within the cloister, in a little yard 
or court, whereabouts lay two or three great ladies, being without 
the liberties of London, whereby he hoped for the greater gain. 
This crank there lamentably lamenting and pitifully crying to 
be relieved, declared to divers there his painful and miserable 
disease. I being risen and not half ready, heard his doleful 
words and rueful mournings, hearing him name the falling 
sickness, thought assuredly to myself that he was a deep dis- 
sembler. So, coming out at a sudden, and beholding his ugly 
and irksome attire, his loathsome and horrible countenance, it 
made me in a marvellous perplexity what to think of him, 
whether it were feigned or truth. For after this manner went 
he : he was naked from the waist upward, saving he had an old 
jerkin of leather patched, and that was loose about him, that 
all his body lay out bare ; a filthy foul cloth he ware on his 
head, being cut for the purpose, having a narrow place to put 
out his face, with a beaver made to truss up his beard, and a 
string that tied the same down close about his neck ; with an 
old felt hat which he still carried in his hand to receive the 
charity and devotion of the people, for that would he hold 
out from him ; having his face, from the eyes downward, all 
smeared with fresh blood, as though he had new fallen, and 



been tormented with his painful pangs, — his jerkin being all 
berayed with dirt and mire : surely the sight was monstrous 
and terrible. I called him unto me, and demanded of him 
what he ailed. "Ah, good master," quoth he, "I have the 
grievous and painful disease called the falling sickness." "Why," 
quoth I, "how cometh thy jerkin, hose, and hat so berayed 
with dirt and mire, and thy skin also ? " " Ah, good master, I 
fell down on the backside here in the foul lane hard by the 
waterside ; and there I lay almost all night, and have bled 
almost all the blood out in my body." It rained that morning 
very fast ; and while I was thus talking with him, a honest 
poor woman that dwelt thereby brought him a fair linen cloth, 
and bid him wipe his face therewith ; and there being a tub 
standing full of rain water, offered to give him some in a dish 
that he might make himself clean : he refuseth the same. 
"Why dost thou so?" quoth I. "Ah, sir," saith he, "if I 
should wash myself, I should fall to bleeding afresh again, and 
then I should not stop myself." These words made me the 
more to suspect him. 

Then I asked of him where he was born, what his name 
was, how long he had this disease, and what time he had been 
here about London, and in what place. " Sir," saith he, " I 
was born at Leicester, my name is Nicholas Genings, and I 
have had this falling sickness eight years, and can get no 
remedy for the same ; for I have it by kind, my father had it 
and my friends before me ; and I have been these two years 
here about London, and a year and a half in Bethlehem." 
"Why, wast thou out of thy wits?" quoth L "Yea, sir, that 
I was." "What is the keeper's name of the house?" "His name 
is," quoth he, " John Smith." " Then," quoth I, " he must 
understand of thy disease ; if thou haddest the same for the time 
thou wast there, he knoweth it well." "Yea, not only he, 
but all the house beside," quoth this crank ; " for I came thence 
but within this fortnight." 

I had stood so long reasoning the matter with him that 
I was a cold, and went into my chamber and made me 
ready, and commanded my servant to repair to Bethlehem, 
and bring me true word from the keeper there whether 
any such man hath been with him as a prisoner having the 
disease aforesaid, and gave him a note of his name and the 



keeper's also. My servant, returning to my lodging, did assure 
me that neither was there ever any such man there, neither yet 
any keeper of any such name; but he that was there keeper, he 
sent me his name in writing, affirming that he letteth no man 
depart from him unless he be fetched away by his friends, and 
that none that came from him begged about the city. Then I 
sent for the printer of this book, and shewed him of this dis- 
sembling crank, and how I had sent to Bethlehem to understand 
the truth, and what answer I received again, requiring him 
that I might have some servant of his to watch him faith- 
fully that day, that I might understand trustily to what place he 
would repair at night unto, and thither I promised to go myself 
to see their order, and that I would have him to associate me 
thither. He gladly granted to my request, and sent two boys, that 
both diligently and vigilantly accomplished the charge given 
them, and found the same crank about the Temple, where- 
about the most part of the day he begged, unless it were about 
twelve of the clock he went on the backside of Clement's Inn 
without Temple-bar, there is a lane that goeth into the fields ; 
there he renewed his face again with fresh blood, which he 
carried about him in a bladder, and daubed on fresh dirt upon 
his jerkin, hat and hosen. And so came back again unto the 
Temple, and sometime to the waterside, and begged of all that 
passed by. The boys beheld how some gave groats, some six- 
pence, some gave more ; for he looked so ugly and irksomely, 
that everyone pitied his miserable case that beheld him. To be 
short, there he passed all the day till night approached ; and 
when it began to be somewhat dark, he went to the waterside 
and took a sculler, and was set over the water into Saint George's 
fields, contrary to my expectation ; for I had thought he would 
have gone into Holborn or to Saint Giles in the field. But 
these boys, with Argus's and lynx's eyes, set sure watch upon 
him, and the one took a boat and followed him and the other 
went back to tell his master. 

The boy that so followed him by water, had no money to pay 
for his boat hire, but laid his penner and his inkhorn to gage for 
a penny ; and by that time the boy was set over, his master, with 
all celerity, had taken a boat and followed him apace. Now 
had they still a sight of the crank, which crossed over the fields 
towards Newington, and thither he went, and by that time they 



came thither it was very dark. The printer had there no 
acquaintance, neither any kind of weapon about him, neither 
knew he how far the crank would go, because he then sus- 
pected that they dogged him of purpose. He there stayed him, 
and called for the constable, which came forth diligently to 
enquire what the matter was. This zealous printer charged this 
officer with him as a malefactor and a dissembling vagabond. 
The constable would have laid him all night in the cage that 
stood in the street. " Nay," saith this pitiful printer, " I pray 
you have him into your house ; for this is like to be a cold night, 
and he is naked: you keep a victualling house; let him be well 
cherished this night, for he is well able to pay for the same. I 
know well his gains hath been great to-day, and your house is a 
sufficient prison for the time, and we will there search him." 
The constable agreed thereunto : they had him in, and caused 
him to wash himself: that done, they demanded what money 
he had about him. Saith this crank, " So God help me, I have 
but twelve pence,** and plucked out the same of a little purse, 
" Why, have you no more ? ** quoth they. " No,** saith this 
crank, " as God shall save my soul at the day of judgment.** 
"We must see more,** quoth they, and began to strip him. 
Then he plucked out another purse, wherein was forty pence. 
"Tush,** saith this printer, "I must see more." Saith this 
crank, ." I pray God I be damned both body and soul if I have 
any more.** " No,** saith this printer, " thou false knave, here 
is my boy that did watch thee all this day, and saw when such 
men gave thee pieces of six pence, groats, and other money ; 
and yet thou hast shewed us none but small money.*' When 
this crank heard this, and the boy vowing it to his face, he 
relented, and plucked out another purse, wherein was eight 
shillings and odd money; so had they in the whole that he had 
begged that day thirteen shillings threepence halfpenny. Then 
they stripped him stark naked, and as many as saw him said 
they never saw handsomer man, with a yellow flaxen beard, 
and fair skinned, without any spot or grief. Then the good 
wife of the house fetched her goodman's old cloak, and caused 
the same to be cast about him, because the sight should not 
abash her shamefast maidens, neither loth her squeamish sight. 

Thus he set down at the chimney's end, and called for a pot 
of beer, and drank off a quart at a draught, and called for another, 



and so the third, that one had been sufficient for any reasonable 
man, the drink was so strong; I myself, the next morning, 
tasted thereof. But let the reader judge what and how much he 
would have drunk and he had been out of fear. Then when 
they had thus wrung water out of a flint in spoiling him of his 
evil gotten goods, his passing pence, and fleeting trash, the 
printer with this oflScer were in jolly jollity, and devised to 
search a barn for some rogues and uprightmen, a quarter of a 
mile from the house, that stood alone in the fields, and went 
out about their business, leaving this crank alone with his wife 
and maidens. This crafty crank, espying all gone, requested 
the good wife that he might go out on the backside to make 
water, and to exonerate his paunch. She bad him draw the 
latch of the door and go out, neither thinking or mistrusting 
he would have gone away naked. But, to conclude, when he 
was out, he cast away the cloak, and, as naked as ever he was born, 
he ran away, that he could never be heard of again. Now the 
next morning betimes, I went unto Newington, to understand 
what was done, because I had word or it was day that there my 
printer was. And at my coming thither, I heard the whole 
circumstance, as I above have written ; and I, seeing the matter 
so fall out, took order with the chief of the parish that this 
thirteen shillings and threepence halfpenny might the next day 
be equally distributed, by their good discretions, to the poverty 
of the same parish, and so it was done. 

[The counterfeit crank was eventually captured, as Harman relates 
in a subsequent edition of his book.] 

Thomas Harman, A Caveat or Wareningfor Commen Cursetors 1567 




Boatsiuain. Heigh, my hearts ! cheerly, cheerly, my hearts ! yare, 
yare ! Take in the topsail ! Tend to the master's whistle ! — Blow, 
till thou burst thy wind, if room enough ! 

• *«**** 

Gonzalo. Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre 
of barren ground ; long heath, brown furze, any thing. The wills above 
be done ! but I would fain die a dry death. T/ie Tempest, i. i. 

Yet his means are in supposition : he hath an argosy bound to 
Tripolis, another to the Indies ; I understand moreover upon the Rialto, 
he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other ventures he 
hath, squandered abroad. But ships are but boards, sailors but men : 
there be land-rats and water-rats, land-thieves and water-thieves, — I mean 
pirates, — and then there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks. 

T/ie Merchant of Venice, i. iii. 17 — 35. 

Haklw^i extols England* s Greatness at Sea. 

He does smile his face into more lines than are in the new map with 
the augmentation of the Indies. Tnvelfth Night, ill. ii. 87. 

To the Right Honourable Sir Francis Walsingham Knight. 
Right Honourable, I do remember that being a youth, and 
one of her Majesty's scholars at Westminster that fruitful 
nursery, it was my hap to visit the chamber of Mr Richard 
Hakluyt my cousin, a gentleman of the Middle Temple, well 
known unto you, at a time when I found lying open upon his 
board certain books of cosmography, with an universal map. He 
seeing me somewhat curious in the view thereof, began to 
instruct my ignorance, by showing me the division of the earth 
into three parts after the old account, and then according to the 
latter and better distribution, into more : he pointed with his 
wand to all the known seas, gulfs, bays, straits, capes, rivers, 
empires, kingdoms, dukedoms, and territories of each part, with 



declaration also of their special commodities and particular 
wants, which, by the benefit of traffic and intercourse of 
merchants, are plentifully supplied. From the map he brought 
me to the Bible, and turning to the 107 Psalm, directed me to 
the 23 and 24 verses, where I read, that they which go down to 
the sea in ships, and occupy by the great waters, they see the 
works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep, etc. Which 
words of the prophet together with my cousin's discourse (things 
of high and rare delight to my young nature) took in me so 
deep an impression, that I constantly resolved, if ever I were 
preferred to the university, where better time and more con- 
venient place might be ministered for these studies, I would by 
God*s assistance prosecute that knowledge and kind of literature, 
the doors whereof (after a sort) were so happily opened before me. 
According to which my resolution, when, not long after, I 
was removed to Christ Church in Oxford, my exercises of duty 
first performed, I fell to my intended course, and by degrees 
read over whatsoever printed or written discoveries and voyages, 
I found extant either in the Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, 
Portugal, French or English languages, and in my public 
lectures was the first, that produced and showed both the old 
imperfectly composed, and the new lately reformed maps, globes, 
spheres and other instruments of this art for demonstration in 
the common schools, to the singular pleasure and general con- 
tentment of my auditory. In continuance of time, and by 
reason principally of my insight in this study, I grew familiarly 
acquainted with the chiefest captains at sea, the greatest mer- 
chants and the best mariners of our nation : by which means 
having gotten somewhat more than common knowledge, I 
passed at length the narrow seas into France with Sir Edward 
Stafford, her Majesty's careful and discreet leger, where during 
my five years' abode with him in his dangerous and chargeable 
residency in her Highness's service, I both heard in speech, and 
read in books other nations miraculously extolled for their dis- 
coveries and notable enterprises by sea, but the English of all 
others, for their sluggish security and continual neglect of the 
like attempts especially in so long and happy a time of peace, 

either ignominiously reported or exceedingly condemned 

Thus both hearing, and reading the obloquy of our nation, 
and finding few or none of our own men able to reply herein, 



and further, not seeing any man to have care to recommend to 
the world the industrious labours and painful travels of our 
countrymen : for stopping the mouths of the reproachers, my- 
self being the last winter returned from France with the honour- 
able the Lady Sheffield^ for her passing good behaviour highly 
esteemed in all the French court, determined notwithstanding 
all difficulties to undertake the burden of that work wherein all 
others pretended either ignorance, or lack of leisure, or want of 
sufficient argument, whereas (to speak truly) the huge toil, and 
the small profit to ensue, were the chief causes of the refusal 

To harp no longer upon this string, and to speak a word of 
that just commendation which our nation do indeed deserve : it 
cannot be denied, but as in all former ages, they have been men 
full of activity, stirrers abroad, and searchers of the remote parts 
of the world, so in this most famous and peerless government of 
her most excellent Majesty, her subjects through the special 
assistance and blessing of God, in searching the most opposite 
corners and quarters of the world, and to speak plainly, in com- 
passing the vast globe of the earth more than once, have excelled 
all the nations and people of the earth. For, which of the 
kings of this land before her Majesty, had their banners ever 
seen in the Caspian Sea ? which of them hath ever dealt with 
the Emperor of Persia, as her Majesty hath done, and obtained 
for her merchants large and loving privileges ? who ever saw, 
before this regiment, an English leger in the stately porch of 
the Grand Signor at Constantinople ? who ever found English 
consuls and agents at Tripolis, in Syria, at Aleppo, at Babylon, 
at Balsara, and which is more, who ever heard of Englishmen 
at Goa before now ? what English ships did heretofore ever 
anchor in the mighty river of Plate ? pass and repass the un- 
passable (in former opinion) straits of Magellan, range along the 
coast of Chili, Peru and all the backside of Nova Hispania 
further than any Christian ever passed, traverse the mighty 
breadth of the South Sea, land upon the Luzones in despite of 
the enemy, enter into alliance, amity and traffic with the 
princes of the Moluccas and the Isle of Java, double the famous 
Cape of Bona Speranza, arrive at the Isle of Santa Helena, and 
last of all return home most richly laden with the commodities of 
China, as the subjects of this now flourishing monarchy have done I 

Richard Hakluyt, Principal Navigations (episde dedicatory) 1589 



The English Na.'v^ 

The navy of England may be divided into three sorts, of 
vi^hich the one serveth for the wars, the other for burden, and 
the third for fishermen which get their living by fishing on the 
sea. How many of the first order are maintained within the 
realm, it passeth my cunning to express.... Certes there is no 
prince in Europe that hath a more beautiful or gallant sort 
of ships than the Queen's majesty of England at this present, 
and those generally are of such exceeding force that two of them 
being well appointed and furnished as they ought, will not let 
to encounter with three or four of those of other countries, and 
either bouge them or put them to flight, if they may not bring 
them home. Neither are the moulds of any foreign barks so 
conveniently made, to brook so well one sea as another, lying 
upon the shore of any part of the continent, as those of England. 
And therefore the common report that strangers make of our 
ships amongst themselves is daily confirmed to be true, which is 
that for strength, assurance, nimbleness, and swiftness of sailing, 
there are no vessels in the world to be compared with ours. 

William Harrison, The Description of England 15S7 (2nd ed.) 

A Merchant 

Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth, 
The better part of my affections would 
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still 
Plucking the grass to know where sits the wind ; 
Peering in maps for ports, and piers, and roads; 
And every object that might make me fear 
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt 
Would make me sad. 

The Merchant of Venice^ i. i. 15 — 22 

A worthy merchant is the heir of adventure, whose hopes 
hang much upon wind. Upon a wooden horse he rides through 
the world, and in a merry gale he makes a path through the 
seas. He is a discoverer of countries and a finder out of com- 
modities, resolute in his attempts and royal in his expenses. 
He is the life of traffic and the maintainer of trade, the sailor's 
master and the soldier's friend. He is the exercise 0/ the ex- 
change, the honour of credit, the observation of time and the 



understanding of thrift. His study is number, his care his 
accounts, his comfort his conscience, and his wealth his good 
name. He fears not Scylla and sails close by Charybdis, and 
having beaten out a storm, rides at rest in a harbour. By his 
sea gain he makes his land purchase, and by the knowledge of 
trade finds the key of treasure. Out of his travels he makes his 
discourses, and from his eye-observations brings the models of 
architecture. He plants the earth with foreign fruits, and knows 
at home what is good abroad. He is neat in apparel, modest in 
demeanour, dainty in diet and civil in his carriage. In sum, he 
is the pillar of a city, the enricher of a country, the furnisher of 
a court and the worthy servant of a king. 

Nicholas Breton, The Good and the Badde 1616 

A Sailor^ s Life 

The master, the swabber, the boatswain and I, 

The gunner and his mate, 
Lov'd Mall, Meg, and Marian and Margery, 

But none of us car'd for Kate j 

For she had a tongue with a tang. 

Would cry to a sailor, "Go hang!" 
She lov'd not the savour of tar nor of pitch ; 
* « * * * 

Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang ! 

The Tempestf 11. ii. 49 — 57 

Voyages of purchase or reprisals, which are now grown 
a common traffic, swallow up and consume more sailors and 
mariners than they breed, and lightly not a slop of a rope-hauler 
they send forth to the Queen's ships but he is first broken to the 
sea in the herring-man's skiff or cock-boat, where having learned 
to brook all waters, and drink as he can out of a tarry can, 
and eat poor John out of sooty platters, when he may get it, 
without butter or mustard, there is no ho with him, but, once 
heartened thus, he will needs be a man of war, or a tobacco 
taker, and wear a silver whistle. Some of these for their 
haughty climbing come home with wooden legs, and some with 
none, but leave body and all behind. Those that escape to 
bring news tell of nothing but eating tallow and young blacka- 
mores, of five and five to a rat in every mess and the ship-boy 
to the tail, of stopping their noses when they drank stinking 



water that came out of the pump of the ship, and cutting 
a greasy buff jerkin in tripes and broiling it for their dinners. 
Divers Indian adventures have been seasoned with direr mis- 
haps, not having for eight days' space the quantity of a candle's- 
end among eight score to grease their lips with ; and landing in 
the end to seek food, by the cannibal savages they have been 
circumvented and forced to yield their bodies to feed them. 

Thomas Nashe, Lenten Stuffe 1599 

The last fighi of the Revenge 

Antony. Canidius, we 

Will fight with him by sea. 
Cleopatra. By sea ! what else ? 

Canidius. Why will my lord do so ? 
Antony. For that he dares us to't. 

Antony and Cleopatra, in. vii. 27 — 29 
[Many lines of Tennyson's famous poem are takien almost verbatim 
from this account.] 

The Lord Thomas Howard, with six of her Majesty's ships, 
six victuallers of London, the bark Ralegh and two or three 
pinnaces riding at anchor near unto Flores, one of the westerly 
islands of the Azores, the last of August in the afternoon, had 
intelligence by one Captain Middleton, of the approach of the 
Spanish armada. Which Middleton, being in a very good sailer, 
had kept them company three days before, of good purpose, both 
to discover their forces the more, as also to give advice to my 
Lord Thomas of their approach. He had no sooner delivered 
the news but the fleet was in sight : many of our ships' com- 
panies were on shore in the island; some providing ballast for 
their ships; others filling of water and refreshing themselves 
from the land with such things as they could either for money, or 
by force recover. By reason whereof, our ships being all pestered 
and romaging, everything [was] out of order [and] very light for 
want of ballast, and that which was most to our disadvantage, 
the one half part of the men of every ship sick and utterly 
unserviceable. For in the Revenge there were ninety diseased: 
in the Bonaventure, not so many in health as could handle her 
main sail. For had not twenty men been taken out of a bark 
of Sir George Carey's, his being commanded to be sunk, and 
those appointed to her, she had hardly ever recovered England. 
The rest for the most part, were in little better state. The 



names of her Majesty's ships were these as folio weth : the 
Defiance^ which was admiral, the Revenge vice-admiral, the 
Bonaventure commanded by Captain Cross, the Lion by George 
Fenner, the Foresight by Mr Thomas Vavasour, and the Crane 
by Duffield, The Foresight and the Crane being but small 
ships, only the other were of the middle size; the rest, besides 
the bark Ralegh commanded by Captain Thin, were victuallers, 
and of small force or none. The Spanish fleet, having shrouded 
their approach by reason of the island, were now so soon at 
hand, as our ships had scarce time to weigh their anchors, but 
some of them were driven to let slip their cables and set sail. 
Sir Richard Grenville was the last weighed, to recover the men 
that were upon the island, which otherwise had been lost. 
The Lord Thomas with the rest very hardly recovered the wind, 
which Sir Richard Grenville not being able to do, was persuaded 
by the master and others to cut his main sail, and cast about, and 
to trust to the sailing of his ship : for the squadron of Seville 
were on his weather bow. But Sir Richard utterly refused to 
turn from the enemy, alleging that he would rather choose to die, 
than to dishonour himself, his country and her Majesty's ship, 
persuading his company that he would pass through the two 
squadrons, in despite of them : and enforce those of Seville to 
give him way. Which he performed upon divers of the fore- 
most, who, as the mariners term it, sprang their lufF and fell 
under the lee of the Revenge. But the other course had been 
the better, and might right well have been answered in so 
great an impossibility of prevailing. Notwithstanding out of 
the greatness of his mind, he could not be persuaded. In the 
meanwhile as he attended those which were nearest him, the 
great San Philip being in the wind of him, and coming towards 
him, becalmed his sails in such sort, as the ship could neither 
make way nor feel the helm: so huge and high charged was 
the Spanish ship, being of a thousand and five hundred tons, who 
afterlaid the Revenge aboard. When he was thus bereft of his 
sails, the ships that were under his lee luffing up also laid him 
aboard : of which the next was the Admiral of the Biscaines, 
a very mighty and puissant ship commanded by Brittan Dona. 
The said Philip carried three tier of ordnance on a side, and 
eleven pieces in every tier. She shot eight forth right out of 
her chase, besides those of her stern ports. 

W. R 257 


After the Revenge was entangled with this Philips four other 
boarded her ; two on her larboard, and two on her starboard. 
The fight thus beginning at three of the clock in the afternoon, 
continued very terrible all that evening. But the great San 
Philip having received the lower tier of the Revenge^ discharged 
with crossbar-shot, shifted herself with all diligence from her 
sides, utterly misliking her first entertainment. Some say that 
the ship foundered, but we cannot report it for truth, unless we 
were assured. The Spanish ships were filled with companies of 
soldiers, in some two hundred besides the mariners, in some 
five, in others eight hundred. In ours there were none at all, 
besides the mariners, but the servants of the commanders and 
some few voluntary gentlemen only. After many interchanged 
volleys of great ordnance and small shot, the Spaniards de- 
liberated to enter the Revenge^ and made divers attempts, 
hoping to force her by the multitudes of their armed soldiers 
and musketeers, but were still repulsed again and again, and at 
all times beaten back into their own ships, or into the seas. In 
the beginning of the fight, the George Noble of London, having 
received some shot through her by the armados, fell under the 
lee of the Revenge^ and asked Sir Richard what he would com- 
mand him, being but one of the victuallers and of small force. 
Sir Richard bid him save himself, and leave him to his fortune. 
After the fight had thus without intermission continued while 
the day lasted and some hours of the night, many of our men 
were slain and hurt, and one of the great galleons of the armada 
and the Admiral of the Hulks both sunk, and in many other of 
the Spanish ships great slaughter was made. Some write that 
Sir Richard was very dangerously hurt almost in the beginning 
of the fight, and lay speechless for a time ere he recovered. But 
two of the Revenge's own company, brought home in a ship of 
Lima from the islands, examined by some of the Lords and 
others, affirmed that he was never so wounded as that he for- 
sook the upper deck, till an hour before midnight; and then 
being shot into the body with a musket as he was a dressing, 
was again shot into the head, and withal his chirurgeon wounded 
to death. This agreeth also with an examination, taken by Sir 
Francis Godolphin, of four other mariners of the same ship being 
returned, which examination, the said Sir Francis sent unto 
Master William Killigrew, of her Majesty's privy chamber. 



But to return to the fight, the Spanish ships which at- 
tempted to board the Revenge^ as they were wounded and beaten 
off, so always others came in their places, she having never less 
than two mighty galleons by her sides, and aboard her. So that 
ere the morning, from three of the clock the day before, there 
had fifteen several armados assailed her; and all so ill approved 
their entertainment, as they were by the break of day, far more 
willing to hearken to a composition, than hastily to make any 
more assaults or entries. But as the day increased, so our men 
decreased : and as the light grew more and more, by so much 
more grew our discomforts. For none appeared in sight but 
enemies, saving one small ship called the Pilgrim^ commanded 
by Jacob Whiddon, who hovered all night to see the success: 
but in the morning bearing with the Revenge, was hunted like 
a hare amongst many ravenous hounds, but escaped. 

All the powder of the Revenge to the last barrel was now 
spent, all her pikes broken, forty of her best men slain, and the 
most part of the rest hurt. In the beginning of the fight she 
had but one hundred free from sickness, and fourscore and ten 
sick, laid in hold upon the ballast : a small troop to man such 
a ship, and a weak garrison to resist so mighty an army. By 
those hundred all was sustained, the volleys, boardings and 
enterings of fifteen ships of war, besides those which beat her 
at large. On the contrary, the Spanish were always supplied 
with soldiers brought from every squadron: all manner of arms 
and powder at will. Unto ours there remained no comfort at 
all, no hope, no supply either of ships, men or weapons; the 
masts all beaten overboard, all her tackle cut asunder, her upper 
work altogether razed, and in effect evened she was with the 
water, but the very foundation or bottom of a ship, nothing 
being left overhead either for flight or defence. Sir Richard 
finding himself in this distress, and unable any longer to make 
resistance, having endured in this fifteen hours' fight, the assault 
of fifteen several armados, all by turns aboard him, and by esti- 
mation eight hundred shot of great artillery, besides many assaults 
and entries ; and that himself and the ship must needs be 
possessed by the enemy, who were now all cast in a ring round 
about him; the Revenge not able to move one way or other, 
but as she was moved with the waves and billow of the sea; 
commanded the master gunner, whom he knew to be a most 

R2 259 


resolute man, to split and sink the shipj that thereby nothing^ 
might remain of glory or victory to the Spaniards: seeing in so 
many hours' fight, and with so great a navy they were not able 
to take her, having had fifteen hours' time, fifteen thousand 
men, and fifty and three sail of men of war to perform it withal. 
And persuaded the company, or as many as he could induce, to 
yield themselves unto God, and to the mercy of none else; 
but, as they had like valiant resolute men repulsed so many 
enemies, they should not now shorten the honour of their nation 
by prolonging their own lives for a few hours or a few days. 
The master gunner readily condescended and divers others; 
but the captain and the master were of another opinion, and 
besought Sir Richard to have care of them : alleging that the 
Spaniard would be as ready to entertain a composition, as they 
were willing to offer the same: and that there being divers 
sufficient and valiant men yet living, and whose wounds were 
not mortal, they might do their country and prince acceptable 
service hereafter. And (that where Sir Richard had alleged 
that the Spaniards should never glory to have taken one ship of 
her Majesty's, seeing that they had so long and so notably de- 
fended themselves) they answered, that the ship had six foot 
water in hold, three shot under water, which were so weakly 
stopped, as with the first working of the sea, she must needs 
sink, and was besides so crushed and bruised, as she could never 
be removed out of the place. 

And as the matter was thus in dispute, and Sir Richard 
refusing to hearken to any of those reasons: the master of the 
Revenge (while the captain won unto him the greater party) was 
conveyed aboard the General Don Alfonso Bassan, Who find- 
ing none over hasty to enter the Revenge again, doubting lest 
SirRichard would have blown them up and himself,and perceiving 
by the report of the master of the Revenge his dangerous dis- 
position, yielded that all their lives should be saved, the company 
sent for England, and the better sort to pay such reasonable 
ransom as their estate would bear, and in the mean season to be 
free from galley or imprisonment. To this he so much the 
rather condescended as well as I have said, for fear of further 
loss and mischief to themselves, as also for the desire he had to 
recover Sir Richard Grenville: whom for his notable valour he 
seemed greatly to honour and admire. 



When this answer was returned, and that safety of life was 
promised, the common sort being now at the end of their peril, 
the most drew back from Sir Richard and the master gunner, 
being no hard matter to dissuade men from death to life. The 
master gunner finding himself and Sir Richard thus prevented 
and maistered by the greater number, would have slain himself 
with a sword, had he not been by force withheld and locked 
into his cabin. Then the General sent many boats aboard the 
Revenge^ and divers of our men fearing Sir Richard's disposition, 
stole away aboard the General and other ships. Sir Richard 
thus overmatched, was sent unto by Alfonso Bassan to remove 
out of the Revenge^ the ship being marvellous unsavoury, filled 
with blood and bodies of dead and wounded men like a slaughter 
house. Sir Richard answered that he might do with his body 
what he list, for he esteemed it not, and as he was carried out 
of the ship he swooned, and reviving again desired the com- 
pany to pray for him. The General used Sir Richard with all 
humanity, and left nothing unattempted that tended to his re- 
covery, highly commending his valour and worthiness, and greatly 
bewailed the danger wherein he was, being unto them a rare 
spectacle, and a resolution seldom approved, to see one ship 
turn toward so many enemies, to endure the charge and board- 
ing of so many huge armados, and to resist and repel the assaults 
and entries of so many soldiers. All which and more is con- 
firmed by a Spanish captain of the same armada, and a present 
actor in the fight, who being severed from the rest in a storm, 
was by the Lion of London, a small ship, taken, and is now 
prisoner in London. 

The general commander of the armada was Don Alfonso 
Bassan, brother to the Marquis of Santa Cruce. The admiral 
of the Biscaine squadron was Britan Dona, of the squadron 
of Seville Marquis of Arumburch. The hulks and flyboats were 
comm.anded by Luis Cutino. There were slain and drowned 
in this fight, well near two thousand of the enemies, and two 
especial commanders Don Luis de Sant John, and Don George 
de Prunaria de Mallaga, as the Spanish captain confesseth, 
besides divers others of special account, whereof as yet report is 
not made. 

The Admiral of the Hulks and the Ascention of Seville were 
both sunk by the side of the Revenge ; one other recovered the 



road of Saint Michels, and sunk also there; a fourth ran herself 
with the shore to save her men. Sir Richard died as it is said, 
the second or third day aboard the General^ and was by them 
greatly bewailed. What became of his body, whether it were 
buried in the sea or on the land we know not: the comfort that 
remaineth to his friends is, that he hath ended his life honourably 
in respect of the reputation won to his nation and country, and 
of the same to his posterity, and that being dead, he hath not 
outlived his own honour. 

Sir Walter Ralegh, The last fight of the Renjenge 1591 

The Discovery of Virginia, t576 

Adrian. Though this island seem to be desert... uninhabitable and 
almost inaccessible... it must needs be of subtle, tender and delicate 
temperance.... The air breathes upon us here most sweetly.,.. 

Gon%alo. Here is everything advantageous to life. 

Antonio. True ; save means to live.... 

Gonzalo. How lush and lusty the grass looks ! how green ! 

The Tempestj 11. i. 36 — 56 

Stephana. This is some monster of the isle.... If I can recover him 
and keep him tame, and get to Naples with him, he's a present for any 
emperor that ever trod on neat's-leather. 

Caliban. Do not torment me, prithee.... 

Stephano. He shall taste of my bottle : if he have never drunk wine 
afore, it will go near to remove his fit.... 

Caliban. These be fine things an if they be not sprites. 
That's a brave god, and bears celestial liquor: 
I will kneel to him.... 
Hast thou not dropp'd from heaven? 
Stephano. Out o* the moon, I do assure thee : I was the man in the 
moon when time was. 

Caliban. I have seen thee in her, and I do adore thee.... 

I prithee, let me bring thee where crabs grow; 
And I with my long nails will dig thee pig-nuts j 
Show thee a jay's nest, and instruct thee how 
To snare the nimble marmozet j I'll bring thee 
To clust'ring filberts, and sometimes I'll get thee 
Young scamels from the rock. Wilt thou go with me f 

Ibid. II. ii. 

The most famous, renowned and ever worthy of all memory 
for her courage, learning, judgment and virtue, Queen Eliza- 
beth granted her letters patent to Sir Walter Ralegh for the 



discovering and planting new lands and countries, not actually 
possessed by any Christians. This patentee got to be his 
assistants Sir Richard Grenville the valiant, Master William 
Sanderson, a great friend to all such noble and worthy actions, 
and divers other gentlemen and merchants, who with all speed 
provided two small barks, full furnished with all necessaries, 
under the command of Captain Philip Amidas and Captain 
Barlow. The twenty-seventh of April they set sail from the 
Thames, the tenth of May passed the Canaries, and the tenth of 
June the West Indies: which unneedful southerly course (but 
then no better was known) occasioned them in that season much 

The second of July they fell with the coast of Florida in 
shoal water, where they felt a most delicate sweet smell, though 
they saw no land, which ere long they espied, thinking it the 
continent: an hundred and twenty miles they sailed not finding 
any harbour. The first that appeared with much difficulty they 
entered, and anchored ; and after thanks to God they went 
to view the next land adjoining, to take possession of it for the 
Queen's most excellent Majesty : which done, they found their 
first landing place very sandy and low, but so full of grapes that 
the very surge of the sea sometimes overflowed them : of which 
they found such plenty in all places, both on the sand, the 
green soil and hills, as in the plains as well on every little shrub, 
as also climbing towards the tops of high cedars, that they did 
think in the world were not the like abundance. 

We passed by the sea-side towards the tops of the next hills 
being not high: from whence we might see the sea on both 
sides, and found it an isle of twenty miles in length and six 
in breadth, the valleys replenished with goodly tall cedars. 
Discharging our muskets, such a flock of cranes, the most white, 
arose by us, with such a cry as if an army of men had shouted 
all together. This isle hath many goodly woods and deer, 
conies, and fowl in incredible abundance, and using the author's 
own phrase, the woods are not such as you find in Bohemia, 
Muscovy, or Hercynia, barren and fruitless, but the highest and 
reddest cedars of the world, bettering those of the Azores, Indies, 
or Libanus: pines, cypress, sassafras, the lentisk that beareth 
mastic, and many other of excellent smell and quality. Till 
the third day we saw not any of the people, then in a little boat 



three of them appeared. One of them went on shore, to whom 
we rowed, and he attended us without any sign of fear ; after 
he had spoke much though we understood not a word, of his 
own accord he came boldly aboard us. We gave him a shirt, a 
hat, wine and meat, whi'ch he liked well ; and after he had well 
viewed the barks and us, he went away in his own boat ; and 
within a quarter of a mile of us in half an hour, had laden his 
boat with fish, with which he came again to the point of land, 
and there divided it in two parts, pointing one part to the ship, 
the other to the pinnace, and so departed. 

The next day came divers boats, and in one of them the 
king's brother, with forty or fifty men, proper people, and in 
their behaviour very civil ; his name was Granganameo, the 
king is called Wingina, the country Wingandacoa. Leaving 
his boats a little from our ships, he came with his train to the 
point, where spreading a mat he sat down. Though we came 
to him well armed, he made signs to us to sit down without any 
show of fear, stroking his head and breast, and also ours, to 
express his love. After he had made a long speech unto us, we 
presented him with divers toys, which he kindly accepted. He 
was greatly regarded by his people, for none of them did sit nor 
speak a word, but four, on whom we bestowed presents also, but 
he took all from them, making signs all things did belong to him. 

The king himself, in a conflict with a king, his next neigh- 
bour and mortal enemy, was shot in two places through the 
body and the thigh, yet recovered : whereby he lay at his chief 
town six days' journey from thence. 

A day or two after showing them what we had, Granganameo 
taking most liking to a pewter dish, made a hole in it, hung it 
about his neck for a breastplate : for which he gave us twenty 
deer skins, worth twenty crowns: and for a copper kettle, fifty 
skins, worth fifty crowns. Much other truck we had, and after 
two days he came aboard, and did eat and drink with us very 
merrily. Not long after he brought his wife and children ; they 
were of mean stature, but well favoured and very bashful. 
She had a long coat of leather, and about her forehead a band of 
white coral, and so had her husband ; in her ears were bracelets 
of pearl, hanging down to her middle, of the bigness of great 
peas. The rest of the women had pendants of copper, and the 
noblemen five or six in an ear; his apparel as his wives', only 



the women wear their hair long on both sides, and the men but 
on one; they are of colour yellow, but their hair is black, yet 
we saw children that had very fair chestnut coloured hair. 

After that these women had been here with us, there came 
down from all parts great store of people, with leather, coral, 
and divers kind of dyes, but when Granganameo was present, 
none durst trade but himself and them that wore red copper on 
their heads, as he did. Whenever he came, he would signify 
by so many fires he came with so many boats, that we might 
know his strength. Their boats are but one great tree, which 
is but burnt in the form of a trough with gins and fire, till it be 
as they would have it. For an armour he would have engaged 
us a bag of pearl, but we refused, as not regarding it, that 
we might the better learn where it grew. He was very just of 
his promise, for oft we trusted him, and he would come within 
his day to keep his word. He sent us commonly every day 
a brace of bucks, conies, hares and fish, sometimes melons, 
walnuts, cucumbers, peas and divers roots. This author saith, 
their corn groweth three times in five months; in May they 
sow, in July reap ; in June they sow, in August reap ; in July 
sow, in August reap. We put some of our peas in the ground, 
which in ten days were fourteen inches high. 

The soil is most plentiful, sweet, wholesome, and fruitful of 
all other ; there are about fourteen several sorts of sweet smell- 
ing timber trees; the most parts of the underwood, bays and 
such like, such oaks as we, but far greater and better... 

This discovery was so welcome into England that it pleased 
her Majesty to call this country of Wingandacoa, Virginia. 

Captain John Smith, The Generall Historie of Firginia 1624 




{a) Utopia 

Gonzalo. Had I plantation of this isle, my lord... 

And were the king on't, what would I do?... 
I' the commonwealth I would by contraries 
Execute all things ; for no kind of traffic 
Would I admit ; no name of magistrate ; 
Letters should not be known ; riches, poverty, 
And use of service, none ; contract, succession, 
Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none ; 
No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil j 
No occupation ; all men idle, all j 
And women too, but innocent and pure... 
All things in common nature should produce 
Without sweat or endeavour : treason, felony, 
Sword, pike, knife, gun, or need of any engine. 
Would I not have ; but nature should bring forth, 
Of its own kind, all foison, all abundance, 
To feed my innocent people. 

The Tempesty ii. i. 150 — 171 

(jb) f^irginia 1 607 

It might well be thought, a country so fair as Virginia is 
and a people so tractable, would long ere this have been quietly 
possessed, to the satisfaction of the adventurers, and the eternis- 
ing of the memory of those that effected it. But because all 
the world do see a defailment, this following treatise shall give 
satisfaction to all indifferent readers how the business hath 
been carried : where no doubt they will easily understand and 
answer to their question, how it came to pass there was no 
better speed and success in these proceedings. 

Captain Bartholomew Gosnoil, one of the first movers of 
this plantation, having many years solicited many of his friends, 
but found small assistance, at last prevailed with some gentlemen, 
as Captain John Smith, Master Edward-Maria Wingfield, 
Master Robert Hunt and divers others, who depended a year 
upon his projects; but nothing could be effected, till by their 
great charge and industry, it came to be apprehended by certain 
of the nobility, gentry and merchants; so that his Majesty by 
his letters patent, gave commission for establishing councils, 



to direct here, and to govern and to execute there. To effect 
this was spent another year, and by that, three ships were pro- 
vided, one of a hundred tons, another of forty, and a pinnace of 
twenty. The transportation of the company was committed 
to Captain Christopher Newport, a mariner well practised for 
the western parts of America. But their orders for government 
were put in a box, not to be opened nor the governors known, 
until they arrived in Virginia. 

On the nineteenth of December, 1606, we set sail from 
Blackwall, but by unprosperous winds were kept six weeks in 
the sight of England; all which time Master Hunt, our preacher, 
was so weak and sick that few expected his recovery. Yet 
although he were but twenty miles from his habitation (the 
time we were in the Downs), and notwithstanding the stormy 
weather, nor the scandalous imputations (of some few, little 
better than atheists, of the greatest rank amongst us) suggested 
against him; all this could never force from him so much as 
a seeming desire to leave the business, but he preferred the 
service of God in so good a voyage, before anv aflfection to 
contest with his godless foes, whose disastrous designs (could 
they have prevailed) had even then overthrown the business, so 
many discontents did then arise, had he not with the water 
of patience, and his godly exhortations (but chiefly by his true 
devoted examples) quenched those flames of envy and dissension. 

We watered at the Canaries, we traded with the savages at 
Dominica, three weeks we spent in refreshing ourselves amongst 
these West India Isles; in Guadelupe we found a bath so hot, 
as in it we boiled pork as well as over the fire. And at a little 
isle called Monica we took from the bushes with our hands 
near two hogsheads full of birds in three or four hours. In 
Nevis, Mona and the Virgin Isles we spent some time, where, 
with a loathsome beast like a crocodile called a gwayn, tortoises, 
pelicans, parrots, and fishes, we daily feasted. 

Gone from thence in search of Virginia, the company was 
not a little discomforted, seeing the mariners had three days 
passed their reckoning and found no land ; so that Captain 
RatclifFe (captain of the pinnace) rather desired to bear up the 
helm to return for England than make further search. But 
God, the guider of all good actions, forcing them by an extreme 
storm to hull all night, did drive them by his providence to their 



desired port, beyond all their expectations; for never any of 
them had seen that coast. 

The first land they made they called Cape Henry ; where 
thirty of them, recreating themselves on shore, were assaulted 
by five savages, who hurt two of the English very dangerously. 

That night was the box opened and the orders read, in 
which Bartholomew Gosnoll, John Smith, Edward Wingfield, 
Christopher Newport, John Ratcliffe, John Martin, and George 
Kendall, were named to be the council, and to choose a presi- 
dent amongst them for a year, who with the council should 
govern. Matters of moment were to be examined by a jury, 
but determined by the major part of the council, in which the 
president had two voices. 

Until the thirteenth of May they sought a place to plant in ; 
then the council was sworn, Master Wingfield was chosen 
president, and an oration made, why Captain Smith was not 
admitted of the council as the rest. 

Now falleth every man to work, the council to contrive 
the fort, the rest cut down trees to make place to pitch their 
tents ; some provide clapboard to relade the ships, some make 
gardens, some nets, etc. The savages often visited us kindly. 
The president's overweening jealousy would admit no exercise 
at arms, or fortification but the boughs of trees cast together in 
the form of a half moon by the extraordinary pains and diligence 
of Captain Kendall.... What toil we had with so small a power 
to guard our workmen a-days, watch all night, resist our enemies, 
and effect our business, to relade the ships, cut down trees, and 
prepare the ground to plant our corn, etc., I refer to the reader's 

Six weeks being spent in this manner, Captain Newport (who 
was hired only for our transportation) was to return with the ships. 
Now Captain Smith, who all this time from their departure 
from the Canaries was restrained as a prisoner, upon the scan- 
dalous suggestions of some of the chief (envying his repute) who 
feigned he intended to usurp the government, murder the 
council, and make himself king, that his confederates were 
dispersed in all three ships, and that divers of his confederates 
that revealed it, would affirm it ; for this he was committed as 
a prisoner. Thirteen weeks he remained thus suspected, and 
by that time the ships should return they pretended out of their 



commiserations to refer him to the Council in England to receive 
a check, rather than by particulating his designs to make him 
so odious to the world, as to touch his life, or utterly overthrow 
his reputation. But he so much scorned their charity, and 
publicly defied the uttermost of their cruelty; he wisely pre- 
vented their policies, though he could not suppress their envies; 
yet so well he demeaned himself in this business, as all the 
company did see his innocency and his adversaries' malice, and 
those suborned to accuse him accused his accusers of suborna- 
tion. Many untruths were alleged against him, but, being so 
apparently disproved, begat a general hatred in the hearts of the 
company against such unjust commanders, tnat the president 
was adjudged to give him two hundred pounds, so that all he had 
was seized upon, in part of satisfaction, which Smith presently 
returned to the store for the general use of the colony. 

Many were the mischiefs that daily sprung from their 
ignorant (yet ambitious) spirits; but the good doctrine and 
exhortation of our preacher. Master Hunt, reconciled them, 
and caused Captain Smith to be admitted of the council. 

The next day all received the communion, the day follow- 
ing the savages voluntarily desired peace, and Captain Newport 
returned for England with news; leaving in Virginia one 
hundred, the fifteenth of June 1607. 

Captain John Smith, The Generall Historie of Firginia 1624 

Trafvelters^ Tales* 

I spake of most disastrous chances. 
Of moving accidents by flood and field, 
Of hair-breadth 'scapes i* the imminent deadly breach, 
Of being taken by the insolent foe 
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence 
And portance in my travel's history j 
Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle, 
Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven 
It was my hint to speak, such was the process j 
And of the Cannibals that each other eat. 
The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads 
Do grow beneath their shoulders. 

Othello, I. iii. 134 — 145 

• See also pp. 70, 71. 



Lepidus. What manner o* thing is your crocodile ? 

Antony. It is shaped, sir, like itselfj and it is as broad as It hath 
breadth ; it is just so high as it is, and moves with its own organs ; it 
lives by that which nourisheth it j and the elements once out of it, it 

Lepidus. What colour is It of? 

Antony. Of its own colour too. 

Lepidus, 'Tis a strange serpent. 

Antony. 'Tis so j and the tears of it are wet. 

Antony and Cleopatra, ii, vii. 47 — 56 

Civis. Gentle master, I cannot tell what to call you, nor 
of what country you are. 

Mendax, Sir, I was born near unto Tunbridge, where fine 
knives are made; my name is Mendax, a younger brother 
lineally descended of an ancient house before the conquest. 
We give three whetstones in gules, with no diiFerence, and 
upon our crest a left hand, with a horn upon the thumb, and a 
knife in the hand. The supporters are a fox on the one side, 
and a friar on the other side. And of late I travelled into 
Terra Florida, whereas I felt both wealth and woe ; the black 
ox never trod upon my foot before ; a dog hath but a day. We 
are born all to travail, and as for me I have but little to lose. Yet 
I am a gentleman, and cannot find it in my heart to play the 
slave, or go to cart; I never could abide it, by the mass. 

Civis. You speak like a wise man. I perceive by your 
behaviour that you have been well brought up. I pray you, 
where is that land ? 

Mendax, Many thousand miles beyond Torrida Zona, on 
the equinoctial line, in the longitude near unto the pole antarctic ; 
it is an hundred thousand miles long, and is in the part named 
America; and by the way are the islands called Fortunate or 
Canaria, whose west parts be situated in the third climate. 

Ctvis, It was a dangerous travel into that country. Where 
landed you ? At what place ? 

Mendax, We sailed to the islands of Portum Sanctum, and 
then to Madeira, in which were sundry countries and islands, as 
Eractelenty, Magnefortis, Grancanary, Teneriflfe, Palme Ferro, 
&c. And our captain went with his soldiers to land. And at 
our first coming near unto the river in one of these islands, as 
we refreshed ourselves among the date trees, in the land of the 



palms, by the sweet wells, we did, to the great fear of us all, see 
a great battle between the dragon and the unicorn ; and, as God 
would, the unicorn thrust the dragon to the heart; and, again, 
the dragon with his tail stung the unicorn to death. Here is a 
piece of his horn ; the blood of dragons is rich ; that battle was 
worth two hundred marks to our captain. Then we travelled 
further into TenerifFe, into an exceeding high mountain, above 
the middle region, whereas we had great plenty of rock alum, 
and might well hear an heavenly harmony among the stars. 
The moon was near hand us with marvellous heat ; and when we 
came down at the hill-foot grew many gross herbs, as lovage, 
laserpitium, acanthus and solanum: and whether it was by the 
eating of solanum or no, there was a great mighty man naked 
and hairy, in a deep sleep, whom we gently suffered to lie still. 
He had a great beard in which a bird did breed, and brought her 
young ones meat ; this man slept half a year and waked not. 
Our captain declared unto us that the spials had viewed the 
land, and how that our enemies were at hand. The next day 
most fearful people painted with sundry colours approached in 
strange beasts' skins, with flint so were their shafts and darts 
made, with whom we fought and slew and took some, and yet 
the people so assaulted us, that with much difficulty we recovered 
our barks. And then we sailed forth, and chanced to let fall our 
sounding-lead new-tallowed, whereupon did stick gold. With 
all speed we sent down our divers, and so within three days we 
gathered thirty hogsheads of fine gold, besides two butts of orient 
pearls ; all the shore was full of coral. From thence we sailed 
to the great isle called Madagastat, in Scorea, where were kings, 
Mahometans by religion, black as devils. Some had no heads, 
but eyes in their breasts. Some, when it rained, covered all the 
whole body with one foot. That land did abound in elephants' 
teeth ; the men did eat camels' and lions' flesh. Musk and civet 
in every place did abound, and the mother of pearl, whereof the 
people made their platters to put in their meat; they dwell 
among spice; the ground is moist with oil of precious trees. 
Plenty of wine out of grapes as big as this loaf ; much pepper ; 
they cannot tell what to do with sugar; but that their merchants 
of Maabar, twenty days' journey off, do come and take of their 
goods frankly for nothing; but some of them do bring iron to 
make edge tools, for which they have for one pound twenty 



pound of fine gold. Their pots, pans and all vessel are clean 
gold garnished with diamonds. I did see swine feed in them. 

Civis. Did you see no strange fowls there and fishes ? 

Mendax. In the isle called Rue, in the great Can's land, I 
did see mermaids and satyrs with other fishes by night came 
four miles from the sea, and climbed into trees, and did eat dates 
and nutmegs, with whom the apes and baboons had much fight- 
ing, yelling and crying. The people of that land do live by eating 
the flesh of women. In this land did I see an ape play at tick- 
tack and after at Irish on the tables with one of that land ; and 
also a parrot give one of their gentlewomen a checkmate at chess. 
There geese dance trenchmore. 

Civis. God keep us from those cruel people. 

Mendax, But, sir, as for birds, they are not only infinite 
in numbers, but also in kinds ; some voices most sweet and some 
most fearful ; nightingales as big as geese, owls greater than 
some horse ; and there are birds that do lie in a rock where 
dragons are, whose feathers on their wings are thirty foot 
long, the quill as big as a cannon royal. Also I heard parrots 
dispute in philosophy, fresh [?] in Greek, and sing descant. Also 
there are a people called Astomii, which live very long, and 
neither eat nor drink, but only live by air and the smell of fruits. 
In Selenetide there are women, contrary to the nature of other 
women, do lay eggs and hatch them, from whom do children 
come fifty times greater than those which are born of women. 
There did I see Scipodes having but one foot, which is so broad 
that they cover all their bodies for the rain and the sun. 

Item, I did see men having feet like horse, called 

Item, I did see the Satyrs, half men and half goats, playing 
upon cornets. 

Item, I did see Apothami, half horse and half man. 

Item, I played at tables with the people called Fanesii, whose 
ears were as long as cloaks, covering all their bodies ; near them 
is the great city called O, four hundred miles within the wall ; 
the wall was brass, two thousand gates, six hundred bridges as 
big as London Bridge ; the city paved with gold. Naked men 
dwell there with two heads and six hands every man. There 
did I see apes play at tennis. 

Civis, I pray you is there any plenty of precious stones ? 



Mendax^ Very many, but hard to come by; but in the 
island Zanzibar is much plenty of ambergris, that they make 
clay for their houses withal j there, if we had holden together 
like friends, we might have gotten a v/orld. When I do 
remember it, alas, alas, every man is but for himself; you may 
consider what division is; emeralds, rubies, turkies, diamonds, 
and sapphires were sold when we came thither first for the weight 
of iron; a thousand rich turkesses were sold for three shillings 
four pence, to be short, one with another, after three shillings 
four pence a peck. Our men gathered up carbuncles and 
diamonds with rakes under the spice trees. 

Civh. How chance you brought none home in to this realm ? 

Mendax, Oh, sir, we filled two ships with fine gold, three 
ships with ambergris, musk and unicorns' horns, and two tall 
barks with precious stones, and sailed by the adamant stones, 
which will draw iron unto them, and so cast away the greatest 
riches in Heathenness or Christendom. 

William Bullein, A Dialogue against the Pestilence 1573 



An Elizaheihan Day 

And then he drew a dial from his poke, 

And, looking on it with lack-lustre eye, 

Says very wisely, " It is ten o'clock j 

Thus may we see," quoth he, "how the world wags: 

'Tis but an hour ago since it was nine, 

And after one hour more 'twill be eleven ; 

And so, from hour to hour we ripe and ripe, 

And then from hour to hour we rot and rot, 

And thereby hangs a tale." 

As You Like It^ n. vii. 20 — 28 

One of the Clock. 

It is now the first hour and time is, as it were, stepping out 
of darkness and stealing towards the day: the cock calls to his 
hen and bids her beware of the fox, and the watch, having 
walked the streets, take a nap upon a stall : the bell-man calls 
to the maids to look to their locks, their fire and their Hght, and 
the child in the cradle calls to the nurse for a dug : the cat sits 
watching behind the cupboard for a mouse, and the flea sucks on 
sweet flesh, till he is ready to burst with blood: the spirits of the 
studious start out of their dreams, and if they cannot fall asleep 
again, then to the book and the wax candle : the dog at the door 
frays the thief from the house, and the thief within the house 
may hap to be about his business. In some places bells are rung 
to certain orders: but the quiet sleeper never tells the clock. 
Not to dwell too long upon it, I hold it the farewell of the night 
and the forerunner to the day, the spirit's watch and reason's 
workmaster. Farewell. 



Two of the Clock, 

It is now the second hour and the point of the dial hath 
stepped over the first stroke, and now time begins to draw back 
the curtain of the night : the cock again calls to his hen, and 
the watch begin to bustle toward their discharge : the bell-man 
hath made a great part of his walk, and the nurse begins to 
huggle the child to the dug : the cat sits playing with the mouse 
which she hath catched, and the dog with his barking wakes the 
servants of the house: the studious now are near upon waking, 
and the thief will be gone, for fear of being taken: the foresters 
now be about their walks, and yet stealers sometime cozen the 
keepers : warreners now begin to draw homeward, and far 
dwellers from the town will be on the way to the market : 
the soldier now looks towards the cour de garde, and the corporal 
takes care for the relief of the watch : the earnest scholar will be 
now at his book, and the thrifty husbandman will rouse towards 
his rising: the seaman will now look out for light, and if the 
wind be fair, he calls for a can of beer : the fishermen now take 
the benefit of the tide, and he that bobs for eels will not be 
without worms. In sum, I hold it much of the nature of the 
first hour, but somewhat better. And to conclude, I think it 
the enemy of sleep and the entrance to exercise. Farewell. 

Three of the Clock, 

It is now the third hour, and the windows of heaven begin 
to open, and the sun begins to colour the clouds in the sky, 
before he shew his face to the world : now are the spirits of life, 
as it were, risen out of death : the cock calls the servants to their 
day's work, and the grass horses are fetched from the pastures : 
the milk-maids begin to look toward their dairy, and the good 
housewife begins to look about the house: the porridge pot is 
on for the servants' breakfast, and hungry stomachs will soon be 
ready for their victual: the sparrow begins to chirp about the 
house, and the birds in the bushes will bid them welcome to the 
field: the shepherd sets on his pitch on the fire, and fills his tar- 
pot ready for his flock : the wheel and the reel begin to be set 
ready,and a merry song makes the work seem easy : theploughman 
falls to harness his horses, and the thresher begins to look toward 
the barn: the scholar that loves learning will be hard at his 

S2 275 


book, and the labourer by great will be walking toward bis work. 
In brief it is a parcel of time to good purpose, the exercise of 
nature and the entrance into art. Farewell. 

Four of the Clock, 

It is now the fourth hour, and the sun begins to send her 
beams abroad, whose glimmering brightness no eye can behold : 
now crows the cock lustily and claps his wings for joy of the 
light, and with his hens leaps lightly from his roost : now are the 
horses at their chaff and provender, the servants at breakfast, 
the milk-maid gone to the field, and the spinner at the wheel ; 
and the shepherd with his dog are going toward the fold: now 
the beggars rouse them out of the hedges, and begin their morn- 
ing craft ; but if the constable come, beware the stocks: the 
birds now begin to flock, and the sparhawk begins to prey for 
his aerie: the thresher begins to stretch his long arms, and the 
thriving labourer will fall hard to his work: the quick-witted 
brain will be quoting of places, and the cunning workman will 
be trying of his skill : the hounds begin to be coupled for the 
chase, and the spaniels follow the falconer to the field : travel- 
lers begin to look toward the stable, where an honest hostler is 
worthy his reward : the soldier now is upon discharge of his 
watch, and the captain with his company may take as good rest 
as they can. In sum, I thus conclude of it : 1 hold it the mes- 
senger of action and the watch of reason. Farewell. 

Five of the Clock, 

It is now five of the clock, and the sun is going apace upon 
his journey; and fie sluggards who would be asleep: the bells 
ring to prayer, and the streets are full of people, and the high- 
ways are stored with travellers : the scholars are up and going 
to school, and the rods are ready for the truants' correction : the 
maids are at milking, and the servants at plough, and the wheel 
goes merrily, while the mistress is by: the capons and the 
chickens must be served without door, and the hogs cry till 
they have their swill: the shepherd is almost gotten to his 
fold, and the herd begins to blow his horn through the town : 
the blind fiddler is up with his dance and his song, and the ale- 
house door is unlocked for good fellows: the hounds begin to 
find after the hare, and horse and foot follow after the cry : the 



traveller now is well on his way, and if the weather be fair, he 
walks with the better cheer: the carter merrily whistles to his 
horse, and the boy with his sling casts stones at the crows : the 
lawyer now begins to look on his case, and if he give good 
counsel, he is worthy of his fee. In brief, not to stay too long 
upon it, I hold it the necessity of labour and the note of profit. 

Six of the Clock, 

It is now the first hour, the sweet time of the morning, 
and the sun at every window calls the sleepers from their beds: 
the marigold begins to open her leaves, and the dew on the 
ground doth sweeten the air : the falconers now meet with 
many a fair flight, and the hare and the hounds have made the 
huntsman good sport : the shops in the city begin to shew their 
wares, and the market people have taken their places : the 
scholars now have their forms, and whosoever cannot say his 
lesson must presently look for absolution : the forester now is 
drawing home to his lodge, and if his deer be gone, he may draw 
after cold scent : now begins the curst mistress to put her girls 
to their tasks, and a lazy hilding will do hurt among good 
workers : now the mower falls to whetting of his scythe, and the 
beaters of hemp give a ho ! to every blow : the ale-knight is at 
his cup ere he can well see his drink, and the beggar is as nimble- 
tongued, as if he had been at it all day: the fishermen now are 
at the crayer for their oysters, and they will never tire crying, 
while they have one in their basket. In sum, not to be tedious, 
I hold it the sluggard's shame and the labourer's praise. 

Seven of the Clock. 

It is now the seventh hour, and time begins to set the world 
hard to work ; the milk-maids in their dairy to their butter and 
their cheese, the ploughmen to their ploughs and their barrows 
in the field, the scholars to their lessons, the lawyers to their 
cases, the merchants to their accounts, the shop-men to "What . 
lack you ?" and every trade to his business. Oh 'tis a world to see/ 
how life leaps about the limbs of the healthful: none but finds 
something to do: the wise to study, the strong to labour, the 
fantastic to make love, the poet to make verses, the player to 
con his part, and the musician to try his note : every one in his 



quality and according to his condition, sets himself to some 
exercise, either of the body or the mind : and therefore since it 
is a time of much labour and great use, I will thus briefly con- 
clude of it: I hold it the enemy of idleness and employer of 
industry. Farewell. 

Eight of the Clock. 

It is now the eighth hour, and good stomachs are ready for 
a breakfast : the huntsman now calls in his hounds, and at the 
fall of the deer the horns go apace: now begin the horses to 
breathe and the labourer to sweat, and, with quick hands, work 
rids apace : now the scholars make a charm in the schools and 
ergo keeps astir in many a false argument : now the chapmen 
fall to furnish the shops, the market people make away with their 
ware, the tavern-hunters taste of the t'other wine, and the nappy 
ale makes many a drunken noil : now the thresher begins to fall 
to his breakfast and eat apace, and work apace rids the corn 
quickly away : now the piper looks what he hath gotten since 
day, and the beggar, if he have hit well, will have a pot of the 
best : the traveller now begins to water his horse, and, if he were 
early up, perhaps a bait will do well. The ostler now makes 
clean his stables, and, if guests come in, he is not without his 
welcome. In conclusion, for all I find in it, I hold it the mind's 
travail and the body's toil. Farewell. 

Nine of the Clock, 

It is now the ninth hour, and the sun is gotten up well 
toward his height, and the sweating traveller begins to feel the 
burden of his way : the scholar now falls to conning of his 
lesson, and the lawyer at the bar falls to pleading of his case : 
the soldier now makes many a weary step in his march, and the 
amorous courtier is almost ready to go out of his chamber : the 
market now grows to be full of people, and the shopmen now 
are in the heat of the market : the falconers now find it too hot 
flying, and the huntsmen begin to grow weary of their sport: 
the birders now take in their nets and their rods, and the fisher- 
men send their fish to the market : the tavern and the ale-house 
are almost full of guests, and Westminster and Guild Hall are 
not without a word or two on both sides : the carriers now are 
loading out of town, and not a letter but must be paid for ere it 



pass: the crier now tries the strength of his throat, and the bear- 
ward leads his bear home after his challenge: the players' bills 
are almost all set up, and the clerk of the market begins to shew 
his office. In sum, in this hour there is much to do, as well in 
the city, as the country : and therefore to be short, I will thus 
make my conclusion : I hold it the toil of wit and the trial of 
reason. Farewell, 

Ten of the Clock. 

It IS now the tenth hour, and now preparation is to be made 
for dinner : the trenchers must be scraped and the napkins 
folded, the salt covered and the knives scoured and the cloth 
laid, the stools set ready and all for the table: there must be 
haste in the kitchen for the boiled and the roast, provision in 
the cellar for wine, ale and beer : the pantler and the butler 
must be ready in their office, and the usher of the hall must 
marshal the serving-men : the hawk must be set on the perch, 
and the dogs put into the kennel, and the guests that come to 
dinner must be invited against the hour: the scholars now fall 
to construe and parse, and the lawyer makes his client either a 
man or a mouse : the chapmen now draw home to their inns, 
and the shopmen fall to folding up their wares: the ploughman 
now begins to grow towards home, and the dairy maid, after her 
work, falls to cleansing of her vessels : the cook is cutting sops 
for broth, and the butler is chipping of loaves for the table: 
the minstrels begin to go towards the taverns, and the cursed 
crew visit the vile places. In sum, I thus conclude of it : I hold 
it the messenger to the stomach and the spirit's recreation. 

Eleven of the Clock, 

It is now the eleventh hour, children must break up school, 
lawyers must make home to their houses, merchants to the 
exchange, and gallants to the ordinary : the dishes set ready for 
the meat, and the glasses half full of fair water: now the market 
people make towards their horses, and the beggars begin to draw 
near the towns : the porridge, put off the fire, is set a cooling for 
the plough folk, and the great loaf and the cheese are set ready 
on the table : colleges and halls ring to dinner, and a scholar's 
commons is soon digested : the rich man's guests are at curtsy, 
and "I thank you": and the poor man's feast is "Welcome, 



and God be with you" : the page is ready with his knife and his 
trencher, and the meat will be half cold, ere the guests can agree 
on their places : the cook voids the kitchen, and the butler the 
buttery, and the serving-men stand all ready at the dresser : the 
children are called to say grace before dinner, and the nice people 
rather look than eat : the gates be locked for fear of the beggars, 
and the minstrels called in to be ready with their music: the 
pleasant wit is now breaking a jest, and the hungry man puts 
his jaws to their proof. In sum, to conclude my opinion of it, 
I hold it the epicure's joy and the labourer's ease. Farewell. 

Twelve of the Clock, 

It is now the twelfth hour, the sun is at his height, and the 
middle of the day : the first course is served in, and the second 
ready to follow: the dishes have been read over, and the rever- 
sion set by : the wine begins to be called for, and who waits not 
is chidden : talk passeth away time, and when stomachs are full 
discourses grow dull and heavy, but after fruit and cheese say 
grace and take away : now the markets are done, the exchange 
broke up, and the lawyers at dinner, and Duke Humphrey's 
servants make their walks in Paul's: the shopmen keep their 
shops, and their servants go to dinner : the traveller begins 
to call for a reckoning, and goes into the stable to see his horse 
eat his provender : the ploughman now is at the bottom of his 
dish, and the labourer draws out his dinner out of his bag: 
the beasts of the field take rest after their feed, and the birds of 
the air are at juke in the bushes : the lamb lies sucking while the 
ewe chews the cud, and the rabbit will scarce peep out of her 
burrow : the hare sits close asleep in her muse, while the dogs 
sit waiting for a bone from the trencher. In brief, for all I find 
of it, I thus conclude in it : I hold it the stomach's pleasure and 
the spirit's weariness. Farewell. 


Now is the sun withdrawn into his bedchamber, the windows 
of heaven are shut up, and silence with darkness have made a 
walk over the whole earth, and time is tasked to work upon 
the worst actions: yet virtue being herself, is never weary of 
well doing, while the best spirits are studying for the body's 
rest: dreams and visions arc the haunters of troubled spirits, 



while nature is most comforted in the hope of the morning: 
the body now lies as a dead lump, while sleep, the pride of ease, 
lulls the senses of the slothful: the tired limbs now cease from 
their labours, and the studious brains give over their business: 
the bed is now an image of the grave, and the prayer of the 
faithful makes the pathway to Heaven : lovers now enclose 
a mutual content, while gracious minds have no wicked imagi- 
nations : thieves, wolves and foxes now fall to their prey, but 
a strong lock and a good wit will aware much mischief: and 
he that trusteth in God will be safe from the Devil. Farewell. 

The Conclusion, 

And thus to conclude, for that it grows late, and a nod or 
two with an heavy eye makes me fear to prove a plain noddy, 
entreating your patience till to-morrow, and hoping you will 
censure mildly of this my fantastic labour, wishing I may here- 
after please your senses with a better subject than this : I will in 
the mean time pray for your prosperity, and end with the Eng- 
lish phrase, " God give you good night." 

Nicholas Breton, Fautastickes 1626 

Be cheerful, sir: 
Our revels now are ended. These our actors, 
As I foretold you, were all spirits and 
Are melted into air, into thin air: 
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision. 
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous pal?.ces. 
The solemn temples, the great globe itself. 
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve 
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, 
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff 
As dreams are made on, and our little life 
Is rounded with a sleep. 

The Tempest, iv. i. 147—158 

8 5 aSi 


Acarum vulgare. Common myrtle. 

Aconitum. Monkshood. 

Adamant. Loadstone, magnet. 

Admirals, i.e. flagships. 

Agaric. A purgative made from 

Ale-conner, or Ale-taster, an offi- 
cer appointed to test the ale and 
bread in a parish or town. Shake- 
speare's father was made ale-conner 
of Stratford in 1557. 

AUeyn (Edward). 1566-1626. One 
of the greatest actors of the age. 
Founder of Dulwich College. 

Almain, i.e. German. 

Angel. Gold coin, about 10/-. 

Antic. Buffoon, contortionist, or 
grotesque pageant. 

Antic-woven. Fancifully embroi- 

Apuleian ears, i.e. asses' ears. 

Arcadian and Euphuized gentle- 
woman, i.e. talking the fashion- 
able jargon of Lyly's Euphues or 
Sidney's Arcadia. 

Argent. Money, silver. 

Arimaspi, i.e. the Arimaspians, a 
mythical one-eyed people of Scythia 
always at war with the Gryphons 
( = Grips). 

Aristolochia longa. The clematis. 

Armados, i.e. Spanish vessels. 

Arming doublets, i.e. military 

Arts-vanishing, p. 132. M'^Kerrow 
suggests "so skilfully that the art 
is concealed." 

Assize. Standard measurement. 

Atomies. Atoms, motes. 

Augurate. To divine. 

Aurum potabile. A legendary 
medicine largely composed of gold. 
Possibly denotes in Elizabethan 
times a fashionable quack drug. 


Avoid. To turn out, empty or clear 

Baby-caps. ? Toy-caps. 

Bale. The set of dice for any special 
game, usually three. 

Bandogs, i.e. band-dogs, tied up 
in order to make them fierce. 

Bank, i.e. the South side of the 

Barbarian fleeces. ?Cloaks from 

Barns. Children. 

Barred. See False dice. 

Bastinado. A thorough thrashing. 

Bastone. = bastinado. 

Battle. ? Put into the common stock. 

Beagle, i.e. to smell out like a dog. 

Beaver. Visor. Piece of cloth 
across the mouth. 

Beggar's bush. A notorious spot 
by the roadside between Hunting- 
don and Caxton where beggars kept 

Berayed. Defiled. 

Beseen. Dressed. 

Besmeared. Befouled. 

Bethlehem, i.e. the asylum of St 
Mary of Bethlehem, now called 

Bird-eyed, Quick to see or imagine 

Bit. Cant term for money. 

Biting (of a bullet). It was custom- 
ary to bite the bullet in order to 
raise ridges upon it and so prevent 
it falling out of the gun. 

Bittorn, or Bittour. Bittern. 

Black-jacks. Leather bottles. 

Black ox trod upon my foot. 
Proverbial expression meaning 
"trouble came upon me." 

Block. Mould for a hat. 

Blue-coats, i.e. servants. 


Borders. Plaits or braids of hair 

worn round the forehead or temples. 
Boss. To cover with bosses or knobs. 
Bouge. To bilge, stave in the ship's 

Bov/dled. With feathers ruffled. 
Bridewell. A house of correction 

for women. 
Bridges'. ? Bridget's, i.e. his wife's. 
Britanny, i.e. Britain. 
Broker, i.e. pawnbroker. 
Bucklersbury. A street in London 

chiefly inhabited by druggists. 
Budge. Lambskin with the wool 

dressed outwards, a very cheap fur. 
Budget. Leathern bag. 
Bug. Bogey. 
Bum card. A raised or otherwise 

marked card, used for cheating at 

Bush, i.e. ivy-bush outside a tavern. 

A bunch or tuft of hair. 

Calabrian flood. A contemporary 
pamphlet foretold the advent of 
floods from the appearance of cer- 
tain stars in Calabria. 

Calicut. Town in India near 

Calms. Frames. 

Cambyses. The chief character in 
an early Elizabethan tragedy, pro- 
verbial for rant. 

Campanus, i.e. Campani, a 15th 
century Italian writer of Latin 

Campo. ?The playground. 

Canaries. Spanish dance. 

Cantharides. Spanish flies used for 

Cap-case. Bag or wallet. 

Caraways. Sweetmeats containing 
carraway seeds. 

Carbonado. To cut open and slash 
with a knife for grilling. To grill. 

Carcanet. Necklace or ornamental 

Card. Guide, directory. 

Carted, i.e. taken to Tyburn for 

Carted, i.e. exposed like a criminal 
to public ignominy. 

Casual marts. ? Chance bargains. 

Caterpillars, i.e. brokers, extor- 

Caul. Net. 

Chained, p. 10. The meaning of 
the passage seems to be that the 
country gentleman made himself 
ridiculous at court by appearing 
with a gold chain, which was the 
mark of a steward. 

Challenge. Claim. 

Chamber. ?City treasury. 

Chandler's treasure, p. 13. ?A 
large store. 

Changeling, p. 102. Idiot, mad- 
man. The passage is apparently 
a reference to the shaving of mad- 
men when in confinement. 

Charenton bridge, i.e. Charenton- 
le-pont on the Maine. It has a 
famous bridge of ten arches. 

Chase, p. -257. Porthole at the 

Cheapen. Buy, bargain for. 

Cheats. False dice. 

Checkmate, p. 46. " Go checkmate 
with justice and coin out countenance 
ofttimes equity = make friends with 
the judges and often win the case by 
means of influence. 

Children. Boy-actors. 

Clarissimoes. Grandees of Venice. 

Clause. Conclusion. 

Cledg^. Cledge = clay. 

Club. ?Bat. 

Clyster. Enema. 

Cockatrice. Mistress, harlot. 

Codiniac. Quince-marmalade. 

Cofferer. Officer in royal household, 
next to controller. 

Coffin, p. 227. i.e. pie. 

Combust, p. 46. •' Faces being 
combust with many fiery inflamma- 
tives." One form of a common 
Elizabethan pun upon a writ known 
as "fieri facias." 

Commacerate, To harass, torment. 

Commodity. Convenience, p. 120. 
*• Commodities of proclamations," 
etc. In order to circumvent the 
laws against usury, money-lenders 
were in the habit of selling for a 
small sum some worthless com- 
modity to needy persons, who 



immediately resold it to the usurer 
at a high price. 

Commorant. Resident. 

Complexion. Humour, disposition. 

Composition. To bring to com- 
position = to bring to terms. 

Consort. A band of musicians, choir. 

Contrivitions, i.e. contrivances. 

Cordelier. A Franciscan friar. 

Cornells of Chelmsford. 1 can 
find nothing about this gentleman. 

Corn-trees, i.e. cornel tree or 
cornelian cherry. 

Cosset. Pet lamb. 

Cot-house. Shelter, shed. 

Counter. Debtors' prison. One of 
these stood in the Poultry, Cheap- 

Counterfeit crank. A rogue who 
feigns illness or disease. 

Counter-tenor. Male alto voice. 

Court-cupboard. Movable side- 

Cozen. Substantive = a dupe. Verb 
=to cheat. 

Crank. One suffering from a disease. 

Crayer. Small vessel. 

Creak. " To cry creak." p. 20. =to 

Cross. A coin. Misfortune. 

Crossbar-shot, i.e. expanding bul- 
lets or cannon balls. 

Culling. Cuddling, hugging. 

Cullion. Mean wretch. 

CuUis. Meat broth. 

Cup-shotten. Intoxicated. 

Curst. Shrewish. 

Cut and long-tail, i.e. all sorts of 

Dagswain. Coarse coverlet of rough 
shaggy cloth. 

Dawcock. Jackdaw, silly fellow. 

Decard, i.e. discard. 

Decoy. A card game. 

Derrick. A hangman of the period. 

Descant. Musical variations. 

Desperate, p. 10. Reckless. 

Difference, p. 270. Heraldic term : 
an alteration in a coat of arms to 
distinguish a junior branch from 
Ihe main line of the family. 

Dismal day. p. 39. i.e. one of the 


dies malt ( = dismal) Jan. ist and 
25th, the unlucky days upon which 
the plagues of Egypt were supposed 
to have taken place. 

Dispend. Spend. 

Disquisition. Inquisition. 

Divulge. Publish. 

Dizard. A talkative fool. 

Dodkin, i.e. a doit. 

Dor. Drone, beetle. 

Doubt, p. 225. Hesitate, scruple. 

Drab. Harlot. 

Dragon-water. A popular medicine 
of the age. 

Drawer. Tapster. 

Duchy, i.e. Cornwall. 

Duke Humphrey's servants. Poor 
gallants who could not afford to 
dine and so spent the dinner-hour 
loitering near Duke Plumphrey's 
monument in St Paul's Walk. 

Eleoselinum. Mountain parsley. 

Embraiding. Embroidering. 

Embusk. To raise the bosom by 

Engines. Instruments of torture. 

Ensnarl. Entangle. 

Erra Pater. A famous almanac of 
the period entitled *'The prognosti- 
cation of Erra Pater, a Jew born in 
Jewry." The astrologer's name is 
probably an invention. 

Euphormio, i.e. Euphormio Satyr- 
icon, a satirical novel in Latin 
by John Barclay, published c. 

Even and odd. A dicing game. 

Exemplify, i.e. correct the proof 
by the copy. 

Factors. Agents, assistants. 

Falling-sickness. Epilepsy. 

False dice. Barred cater-treys= 
dice which never turn up the 3 or 
the 4. Barred cinque-deuces = dic& 
which never turn up the 5 or the 2. 
Barred six-aces = ^\c^ which never 
turn up the 6 or the i. FlcU caier- 
treys = d.\ct which always turn up 
the 3 or the 4. Flai chiquf -deuces = 
dice which always turn up the 5 or 
the a. Flat six-aces =dicc which 


always turn up the 6 or the i. 
Bristle dice^ i.e. dice in which 
bristles were fixed to influence the 
throw. Contraries : some form 
of loaded dice. Demies : nature 
or purpose not clear. Fullani or 
fulham : a die loaded at the comer. 
A "high fuUam" cast a high num- 
ber and a "low fuUam" a low 
number. Gourd (from O. French 
= a swindle) : nature not clear. 
High men or low men : dice so 
loaded as to cast high or low 
numbers. Light graviers : possibly 
dice which were light on one side 
and heavy on the other. Long 
dice: i.e. with two sides smaller 
than the others. Quarters : possibly 
dice loaded so as to throw 4. 

Farthingale. Hooped petticoat. 

Fatist. Fatalist. 

Ferula. Ruler. 

Fetch over. p. 87. To deceive. 

Fire-drake. Fiery dragon, or ?will 
o' the wisp. 

First-man. p. 87. ?i.e. claims a 
prior right to his fellow waterman 
to take a fare on board. 

Five and five. p. 255. i.e. five make 
a meal off one rat. 

Flankard. ? Wound in the side. 

Flat. See False dice. 

Flat-cap. These caps were once 
fashionable but now ridiculous. 

Flawn. A kind of custard. 

Fleer. Grin, mock. 

Flews. Large hanging chaps. 

Florentine. Kind of meat-pie. 

Flush. Fledged. 

Foins. Fur trimmings made of beech- 
marten's skin. 

Foist. '* A sleight to carry dice 
easily in the hand " in order to in- 
troduce them into the game when 
the cheater desired. 

Forgetive. Inventive. 

Fray. Frighten. 

Frets. The stops of a musical instru- 
ment which regulate the vibration 
of the strings. Lmes on the face. 

Friends, p. 247. Relatives, an- 

Frounced. Curled, frizzed. 

Gage. p. 248. "Laid to gage" 

i.e. pawned. 
Gallery commoner. One who paid 

a penny for a seat in the gallery of 

the playhouse. 
Galliard. A lively dance. 
Galligaskins. Slops. Loose 

Gallimaufry. Medley, hodge-podge. 
Gallislops. Galligaskins (q.v.). 
Garnish. Money extorted from a 

new prisoner to buy drink for the 

other inmates. 
Gascoins. Galligaskins (q.v.). 
Gazet. Small Venetian coin. 
Geason. Rare. 
Gellif. Jelly. 
Gins. Tools. 
Girder. Scoffer. 
God's cope. Proverbial expression 

for a very large sum. 
Gorbuduc. The earliest regular 

English tragedy. Produced 1562 

by Sackville and Norton. Closely 

modelled upon Seneca's tragedies ; 

hence Sidney's admiration. 
Green-sickness. Chlorosis. 
Grips. Gryphons. See Arimaspi. 
Grogram. Coarse fabric of silk, 

mohair and wool. 
Groundling. One who stood upon 

the floor of the playhouse, under 

the open sky. 
Gulled. Full of ruts, worn away. 
Gulling. Swallowing. 

Had-I-wist. Vain hope or sup- 

Hanger. Short sword. Strap sus- 
pending a sword from the belt. 

Harlots (used of men). Worthless 

Hazard. A game of dice in which 
the chances are complicated by a 
number of arbitrary rules. 

Headborough. Parish officer, petty 

Herb of grace. Rue. 

Hilding. Menial, servant. 

Hippocras. A mediaeval drink, 
made of vnne 'flavoured with 

Historians, i.e. playwrights. 



Histories, i.e. plays. 

Ho. p. 255. "No ho with hini" = 

no stopping him. 
Hobby-horses, p. 120. Toys, trash. 
Hockey. Seedcake distributed at 

harvest home. 
Hooker. See p. 241. 
Hopharlot or hapharlot. Coarse 

coverlet made of shreds. 
Horn thimble. A thimble used by 

Horse-lock. Padlock. 
Huke. Cape, hooded cloak. 
Hull. To drift before a storm. 
Humour. Moistures of the body of 

any kind. Oddities of mind and 


Imposition. Command. 

Indentures. Deeds, contracts. The 
scrivener drew up such contracts in 
duplicate on a single sheet of paper, 
tlie two copies being then severed 
(on the same principle as a tally) 
along a zigzag line. Hence "pair 
of indentures," and the origin of 
the word '^indentntt" itself. 

Infants. Boy actors. 

Ingle, p. 66. "An ingle to gold 
hat-bands" = a catamite to young 
bloods at the university. 

Interprets to the puppets, i.e. 
does the talking in a puppet show. 

Irish. A game like backgammon. 

Jack of Lent. A figure of a man 
set up to be pelted, like Aunt 
Sally, during the Lenten season. 

Jagging. An indented border or 

Jerk. Stroke, blow. Verb = to beat. 

Jeronimo and Isabella. The prin- 
cipal characters in Kyd's Spanish 
Tragedy, a very popular play. 

Jet. Walk pompously. 

Jew's trump. Jew's harp. 

Joined bed, i.e. bedstead, considered 
a luxury at this period. 

Jollop. The wattle of a cock. 

Jolly Robins. A favourite expression 
with Lodge, but the meaning and 
origin are unknown to me. (Not 
found in N.E.D.) 


Journey-man. Hired workman, 
one who has ceased to be a prentice 
but has not become a master-crafts- 

Juke. "At juke (or juck) together." 
= chirping or clucking to each 

Jump. Exactly. 

Kecherman. (1571-1609). Aleamed 
German logician and philosopher. 

Ketches. Catches, songs. 

Kind. p. 247. "Have by kind' 
i.e. inherit. 

Knell (Thomas), fl. 1585, an Eliza- 
bethan actor. 

Knots. Designs. 

Latitat. A writ which assumed 
the defendant to be lying concealed 
and summoned him to the King's 
Launder. Washerman. 
Law-day. Sheriff's court session. 
Laystow or laystall. A place where 

refuse is put. 
Leasings. Lies. 

Lecture. Sermon by perambulating 
preacher without cure, called a 
"lecturer." Lecture-day. p. 62. 
?The day on which one of these 
sermons was delivered. 
Leger. Resident ambassador. 
Let. Hesitate, prevent. 
Lewd. Wicked. 

Liberties. The boundaries of the city. 
Lightly, i.e. as a general rule. 
Lin. To stop. 

Lipsius. Justus Lipsius (1547- 
1606), a Belgian writer on politics. 
Lockram. Coarse linen stuff. 
Looking-glasses in the pave- 
ment. Polished oak floors. 
Louvain. The celebrated Catholic 

university founded in 1426. 
Luff. To turn the ship towards the 

Luneburg table. LUneburg, a town 
in Hanover. In one of its churches 
there was a table of gold from 
which, according to legend, a queen 
of England had had her crown 


Make-shifts. Rogues. 

Malt worm. A tippler. 

Mandilion. A loose kind of over- 

Manured. Cultivated, tilled, 


Marchpane. Marzipan. 

Mean. Middle voice part in music, 
alto or tenor. 

Merchants by the great, p. 8. 
Wholesale merchants. 

Melilot. A herb like clover. 

Melpomene. The muse of tragedy. 

Midden -hills. Dung-hills. 

Mistress. The "Jack" in bowls. 

Mithridate. An antidote. 

Momus. Carper. 

More and no more, i.e. talks 
without saying anything original. 

Morrow-mass. Morning mass. 

Mow. To grimace. 

Mumchance. A dicing game re- 
sembling hazard, apparently played 
in silence. 

Mure. Wright: Dialect Diet, gives 
•' husks of fruit from which the 
juice has been squeezed." Perhaps 
an old spelling of myrrh. 

Muse. Hole in the hedge. 

Musk melon. The common melon. 

Nappy, i.e. drinks strong enough to 

cause sleep. 
Naturals. Fools. 
Neck. p. 117. ?Nick. Perhaps a 

reference to nicking or marking 

Nest, i.e. set (as we say "nest of 

New-spade. See Spade. 
Novem or Novum. A dice game 

played by five or six persons, the 

two principal throws being nine 

and five. 
Noverint-maker. Scrivener. 
Nunchion. Snack taken between 

meals, generally at noon. 
Nuncius. Nuntius, messenger. 

Obligation. Contract, bond. 
Occupy. Traffic in, cultivate. 
Ofter offensive, p. 227. i.e. more 
often dangerous than the knife. 

Orange-pills. Orange peel. 
Ordinary. Eating house. Public 

Orient. Bright. 
Otto, the Marquess. I have not 

been able to discover anything 

about this person. 
Oyer and determiner. Court of 

a judge on circuit. 

Packs. Evil confederacies. 

Pacolet's horse. Pacolet was a 
magician in an old romance who 
made an enchanted horse which 
could transport him through the 

Paetum. A corruption of the Bra- 
zilian petum = tobacco. 

Painted cloths, p. 144. Hangings 
often found on the walls of ale- 
houses (cp. p. 106). Here the 
word is used to signify the alehouse 

Painted sheath. PGallant exterior. 

Pakers. Vagrants, strollers. 

Parcel-gilt. Partly gilded. 

Parker, Martin. A famous ballad 

Pass. p. 143. "Better to pass," 
i.e. better off. 

Passage. A dicing game played by 
two persons using three dice. 

Peise. To poise, weigh. 

Penner. A case to hold pens. 

Penniless-bench. Roadside seat. 

Pentaphyllon. Cinquefoil. 

Perpetuana. A durable wool 

Persian lock. p. 168. ? Misprint 
for "Parisian." 

Pettifoggers: Petty legal practi- 

Pick. To knock down. To pierce. 

Piecing. Patch. 

Pilch. A leather coat. 

Pilcher. Scabbard. 

Pilliwinks, An instrument of tor- 
ture for pinching the fingers. 

Pinch. A pleat in a skirt. 

Pique de vant. ? A braggart's 

Pitch, p. 82. Aim (an expression 
derived from falconry). 



Plant. To colonize. 

Plaudities. Applause. 

Players' bills. Placards announcing 

the play for the day. 
Plumping. Padding. 
Point. "To the point," i.e. exactly. 
Polypus. Octopus, cuttle-fish. 
Poor John. Salted hake. 
Portingal. Portuguese. 
Posy. Motto or verse. 
Potable. Drinkable. 
Pottle. Tankard containing two 

Pounce. To powder. 
Preeches. " You must be preeches " 

= you must be breeched (flogged). 
Prick. A dot or mark. 
Prick in. Implant, embroider. 
Primero. Very popular card game 

in the i6th century, generally played 

by four persons. 
Print. *'In print" p. 174. i.e. to 

a nicety. 
Proclamations, i.e. waste paper. 
Proctor. One who held a licence to 

collect alms for "spital-houses." 
Proof. Result. 
Prunes, p. 100. ** House where 

they set stewed prunes before you" 

= a brothel. 
Pudding-prick. Skewer. 
Puling. Whining. 
Pullin. Poultry. 
Punk. Harlot. 
Purchase. Booty. 
Purl. An embroidered border. 

Quean. Jade, hussy. 

Quern. Mill. 

Quetch. Stir. 

Quietus. Settlement of an account. 

Quit. Repay. 

Race. Root. 

Raddles. Laths. 

Raisins o' the sun. Dried grapes. 

Rampier. Rampart. 

Rase. Scratch. 

Rash. Inferior kind of silk. 

Rear-banquet. Collation taken 

after supper or dinner. 
Reredos. Brick or stone back of a 



Reversion. Scraps left over, rem- 

Riddle. A large kind of sieve. 

Rifts. Strips of oak wood. 

Roarer, or roaring boy. A cant 
name for a swaggering bully. 

Rochet. A bishop's vestment. 

Rock Monday. The Monday follow- 
ing Twelfth Day. Rock = distafif. 

Rodulphus Agricola (1442-1485). 
A learned German scholar and 
scientist. Agricola, of course, means 
husbandman, hence the "mere 
scholar's " mistake. 

Rogues. Rufflers'. see p. 239. 
Hookers', see p. 241. Wild rogues'. 
those born rogues. Palliards : beg- 
gars in patched cloaks. Abrams : see 
p. 238. Dummerers'. beggars pre- 
tending dumbness. Swadders : 
pedlars . Demanders for glim mer : 
female beggars pretending to have 
lost all that they had by fire. 
Morts'. female beggars not legally 
married. Dells', female beggars 
who are still maidens. Upright- 
men', the highest rank of rogues. 
Rogues : beggars pretending to seek 
kinsmen: see p. 242. Prig^ers of 
prancers: horse-stealers. Fraters-. 
pretended proctors (q.v.) with false 
licences. Freshwater mariners : 
pretended shipwrecked sailors. 
Drunken tinkers', thieves posing 
as tinkers. Jarkmen'. clerkly 
rogues who make false licences 
and unite their comrades in wed- 
lock. Bawdy baskets-, female 
pedlars. Autem morts: legally 
married female rogues. Doxies: 
mistresses to rogues. Kinching 
morts '. young female rogues. 
Kinching coes : young male rogues. 

Roscius and Aesop. Two Roman 
actors fl. B.C. 70. 

Rousy. Riotous, noisy. 

Rumaging. At sixes and sevens. 

Running over. p. 150. i.e. till the 
reader has run through it. 

Rutter. Trooper. 

Sacring-bell. Bell used at the mass. 
Saint or Saunt. Corruption of the 


word "cent," a card game like 

Saint Lawrence. Martyred by 
roasting on a gridiron. 

Scant. Scarcely. 

Sconce. Protection, bulwark. 

Scores him. p. 119. ? Writes him 
down as in his debt. 

Searced. Sifted through a very fine 

Sear- cloth. Cerecloth. 

Secretary hand. Style of hand- 
writing used for engrossing. 

Sergeant. Police officer. 

Sharers. The members of the com- 
pany who ran the theatre. 

Snerris sack. The same as modern 

Shift, p. 76. Avoid, p. 163. 
Change their clothes. 

Shifting. Deceitful. 

Shoeing-horn. i.e. shoehorn, but 
often used in Elizabethan English 
to mean anything that would induce 
or "draw on" thirst. 

Shot. Bill, reckoning. 

Shoulder-clapping. Arrest. 

Shrode. ? Married to a shrew. 

Shrovings. Festivities at Shrovetide. 

Sign of the smock, i.e. the 

Sir-reverence, p. 127. =savingyour 

Slum. Yellow watercress. 

Slawata. William Slawata {1572- 
1652), a great traveller, High Chan- 
cellor of the Empire. 

Slipper-merchants. Slippery cus- 

Slop. p. 255. i.e. Sailor. Cp. 

Slot. Track of a deer. 

Snort. Snore. 

Snuff. " To take in snuflF " = to take 

Solanum somniferum. Night- 

Sorteth to. Results in. 

Sound, p. 171. "Just upon the third 
sound ": as we should say "just when 
they are ringing up the curtain." 

Spade. To cut a beard in the shape 
of a spade. 

Spending, p. 17. Utterance. 

Spent, p. 3. Consumed. 

Spials. Spies. 

Spoie. p. 9a. If we read "spoil" 
it would appear that Brown, a cut- 
purse, intentionally provoked a 
quarrel in order to collect a crowd 
from which he and his accomplices 
might reap a harvest. 

Sprag. Active. 

Squirting. Upstart 

Standard. The Standard in Cheap- 
side was a conduit, upon which 
were portraits of kings and queens. 

Stauling-ken. A house that will 
receive stolen goods. 

Stave and tail. Bear-baiting term; 
to stave = to beat back the bear; to 
tail = to hold back the dog. 

Still. Always, ever. 

Stoop, p. 116. This word seems 
to be used figuratively here = to 
alight as a bird. The cheaters are 
of course the fowlers. 

Stoves. Houses for hot vapour baths. 

Strangate. ? Strand-gate. 

Strangury. Difficulty in discharging 
the urine. 

Strength of his horses, p. 80. The 
number of his horses. 

Suburb shadow. The suburbs were 
the most disreputable quarters of 
London in which the houses of ill- 
fame stood. 

Suckets. Sweetmeats or sugarplums. 

Summoner. One who summons to 
the ecclesiastical court. 

Swag-bellied. With a large over- 
hanging belly. 

Sword and buckler. Went out of 
fashion about 1580. Frequent con- 
temptuous references of them occur 
in Elizabethan literature. Ap- 
parently associated with thieves. 
Cp. I Henry IV, I. iii. 230. 

Syrups, i.e. medicines (cp. Treacle). 

Systema. The point is, I suppose, 
that the "mere scholar" takes 
systema (i.e. Systema Logicum=i2L. 
system of logic) to be the name of 
the author of the book. 

Tables, p. 64. Backgammon. 



Talce it of merit. Take as their 

Talbot. Great English general of 

the time of Henry VI. cp. i 

Henry VI. 
Tarlton (Richard). Died 1588. A 

famous Elizabethan comic actor, 

said to be the original of Yorick 

in Hamlet. 
Tawe out. Extort. 
Tax idle circumstance. Censure 

trivial matters. 
Telephus. The wound of Telephus 

could only be cured by rust from 

the spear of Achilles, which had 

inflicted it. 
Term. p. 146. "Attend the end of 

every term"; the end of the law 

terms was tiie busiest season for 

Termagant. An imaginary god of 

the Mahomedans, who figured in 

the old miracles and morality plays 

as a violent character. 
Terminate. Determine. 
Testor or teston. Sixpence. 
Thales Milesius. He fell into a 

ditch while looking at the stars. 
Tick-tack. A game like back- 
Toucher. The bowl lying nearest 

the "Jack." 
Trade. Manner, custom, practice. 
Travel for a stomach. Walk to 

get an appetite. 
Traverses. Crosses, misfortunes. 
Treacle. Medicine. 
Treads. Steps, measures. 
Treen. Wooden. 
Trenchmore. A popular dance tune. 
Troll. To move round. 
Trump. A card game very much 

like whist. 
Try. p. 1. Refine. 
Truss. Breeches. Verb = tie up the 


Twelve, the. ?The signs of the 

Twisks. ? Twists, i.e. threads. 

Unlettered, p. 80. " No unlettered 

man," i.e. he carries letters. 
Untruss. See Truss. 
Utter. Deliver, speak. 

Veney. Bout 
Verdures. ? Green hangings. 
Verucae, i.e. Verrucae = warts. 
Vice. The chief comic figure in the 

old morality play. 
Voiders. Trays or plates for broken 


Waiters. Attendants. 

VVap. Sheep-dog. 

Warden. A kind of pear. 

Warrener. Keeper of poultry and 

Watshod. ? Some kind of silk. 

Weasel-beaked. With a sharp 
thin face like a weasel. 

Welt. Strip, border: (verb) to 

We three. A well-known inn-sign 
representing two fools and inscribed 
"We three." The third fool oi 
course is the man who looks at the 
picture. Cp. Twelfth Night, 11. 
lii. 17. 

Wheel and reel. i.e. for spinning. 

Whetstone, p. 270. Given as a 

W)rize for the biggest liar, 
hirligig- jacks. Spinning jacks. 
Wings. Shoulder knots or epau- 
Wool-packs, p. 13. cp. p. 87. 

Ycrk. Jerk(q.v.). 

Zany. A clown whose business on 
the stage was to imitate foolishly 
the actions of the principal clown. 



Actors Remonstrance, The 1643. p. 

AscHAM, Roger The Scholemaster 

1570- pp. 7i» 195 
AwDELEY, John Fraternitye of Va- 
cabonds 1561. p. 237 

Bacon, Francis Essays 1597-1625. 

pp. 51, 68 
Bayly, Lewes Practice of Pietie 161 2. 

P- 50 
BooRDE, Andrew A Compendyous 

Regyment or a Dietary of Helth 

1542. p. 229 
Breton, Nicholas 

The Good and the Badde 1616. pp. 

Fantastickes 1626. pp. 22, 23, 24, 
Brinsley, John Ludus Literarius or 
the Grammar Schoole 1612. pp. 53, 

BuLLEiN, William A Dialogue 
against the Pestilence 1573 (ist ed. 
1564). pp. 96, 135, 136, 270 

Carey, Sir Robert Memoirs, pub. 
1759, written c. 1627. p. 203 

Contract for bii ilding the Fortune Thea- 
tre. (Dated Jan. 8, 1600.) p. i6i 

Cory AT, Thomas Crtcdities i6ii. 
pp. 164, 224 

Dekker, Thomas 

The Gulls Horne-booke 1609. p. 167 
TheSeuen Deadly Sinnes of London 
1606. pp. 91, 97, 121 

Earle, John Micro -cosmographie 
1628. pp. 19, 49, 65, 80, 90, 107, 
109, 143, 226 

Fleetwood, William Letter to 

Lord Burghleyy June i8, 1584. 

p. 92 
Frederic, Duke of Wurtemberg 

Visit of 1 592 [Rye], pp. 77, 83, 84 
Fuller, Thomas English Worthies 

1662. p. 108 

G, T. The Rich Cabinet 1616. 

Gosson, Stephen 

Playes Confuted in five Actions 

1582. pp. 158, 167 
The Schoole of Abuse 1579. pp. 166, 

Greene, Robert A Quip for an 
Upstart Courtier 1592. p. 141 

Hakluyt, Richard Principal 
/Navigations 1589. p. 251 

Hall, Joseph Characters of Vertues 
and Vices 1608. p. 29 

Harman, Thomas A Caveat or 
Warening for Commen Cursetors 

1567- P- 239 

Harrison, William Description of 
England 1587 (2nd ed.). pp- 63, 
75, 81, 123, 134, 208, 212, 218, 254 

Hentzner, Paul Travels in Eng- 
land 1598 [Rye], pp. 4, 65, 160, 191 

Howell, James Instructions for 
forreine travell 1642. p. 70 

Howes, Edmond Annates 161 5. 
p. 198 

James I., King A counUr-blast to 
Tobcuco 1672. p. no , 

Latimer, Bishop Hugh Sermon 
preached before Edward VI April 

13, 1549. P- 25 


Letter from the Lord Mayor to the 

Frwf Council, July 28, 1597. p- 179 
Lodge, Thomas IVits Miserie 159^ 

p. 118 
LuPTON, Donald London and 

the Countrey carbonadoed 1 632. pp. 

62, 86, 88, 89, 106, 163, 165, 225 
Lyly, John 

Euphues, The Anatomy of Wyt 
1578. p. 150 

Letter to Queen Elizabeth 1598. 
p. 141 

Markham, Gervase 

Countrey Contentments 161 1. pp. 

16, 17 
The English Hus-wife 161 5. pp. 
136, 214, 226, 227, 228 
MiDDLETON, Thomas? Father Hub- 

burds Tales 1604. p. 126 
MORYSON, Fynes Itinerary 161 7. 
pp. 1,8, 77, 85, 87, 94, 109, 128, 217 

Nashe, Thomas 

The Anatomie of Absurditie 1589. 
p. 146 

Christs Teares over lerusalem 1593. 
pp. 7, 125, 130 

Lenten Stuffe 1599. pp. 148, 255 

Pierce Penilesse I zg'i. pp. 133, 142, 
153, 176, 181 

The Terrors of the Night 1594. 
p. 148 

"iA wonderful astrological prognos- 
tication 1 591. p. 46 
Newesfrom Scotland 1591. p. 33 

OvERBURY, Sir Thomas Characters 
1614-16. pp. 10, II, 13, d^^ 87, 

Ralegh, Sir Walter 

The last fight of the Revenge 1591. 

p. 256 
The Historic of the World 1614. 
p. 232 

Rhodes, Hugh Boke of Nurture 

1568. pp. 222, 229 
Robin Goodfellow ; his mad prankes 

and merry jests 1628. p. 40 
Royal licence to the king's Players, 

May 19, 1603. p. 176 

Scot, Reginald The Discoverie of 

Witchcraft 1584. pp. 30, 31, 32, 

Second and third blast of retrait from 

plaies and Theatres 1580. p. 158 
Sidney, Sir Philip An Apologie 

for Poetrie 1595 p. 155 
Smith, Captain John History of 

Virginia 1624. pp. 262, 266 
Smith, Sir Thomas De Republica 

Anglorum 1583. p. 5 
Stephens, John Essayes and 

Characters 161 5. pp. 12, 14, 144 
Stockwood, John A Sermon 

Preached at Paules Crosse 1578. 

p, 177 
Stow, John A Survey of London 

15980 p. 160 
Stubbes, Philip The Anatomie of 

Abuses 1583 (2nd ed.). pp. 18, 24, 

35, 103, 105, 128, 178 

TuRBERViLE, George The Noble 
arte of veneris or hunting 1576. 
p. 16 

Van Meteren Nederlandtsche His- 
toric 1575 [Rye], p. 8 

Walker, Gilbert ? A Manifest 

detection of Dice-play 1532. 

p. 112 
White, Thomas A Sermon Preached 

at Pawles Crosse 1578. p. 177 
Willis, ^R. Mouitt Tabor 1639. 

pp. 19, 20, 52 
Wither, George The Schollers 

Purgatory c. 1625. pp. 149, 151 



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